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|June 26 2012, 02:02 AM||#1|
Last Contact (June 2012 Meet the Neighbors Challenge Entry)
No matter how many times I sit to update the official journal of my thoughts and feelings and actions as the elected leader of the whole of the world we have chosen to rename Lar-Dev I am always in awe, not only in the faith placed in me by my fellow citizens but by the zeal with which nearly everyone has undertaken the rebuilding of our world after we nearly destroyed it completely just slightly over two years ago. At the time in my capacity as Prime Citizen for the under citizens of Lar-Gand I had risked both my life and my reputation to seek to open peace talks with my opposite number. The Majister of the beings known as the Dev-Em. In short order we came to an understanding that neither we nor our peoples wanted war. But rather a select few in the upper strata of government, military, and business desired to create an unending state of conflict for varying reasons. It took some doing but all but the most fatalistic of even those factions were finally convinced that our conflicts were reaching a zenith where there was no end possible except total annihilation.
Once The Accord was reached the next logical step was to permit the whole of the newly united peoples to elect a leader. The Majister chose not to put her name forward for potential selection due to her age. Instead her Adjutant Majister ran. And very nearly won. But by a narrow margin victory was mine and with victory a great responsibility. One which I am pleased to say that the one who had been my opponent has given great aid with as Prime Adjutant. With the two of us, and indeed all the peoples of Lar-Dev working together we have been able to rebuild with breathtaking speed. Such speed that I am now free to consider launching a new undertaking. One that is incredibly bold, but I think will work to cement us as one people for all time. And in doing so I get to bring great joy to a dear old friend.
Tornak Tolgas was not a male who enjoyed waiting. When he had been a youngling and then a simple learner he had been forced to endure waiting upon the pleasure of others. But once he was a fully accredited educator woe be unto any learner who might dare to be so much as a minute late to his class. Tornak actually had a remote system installed that allowed him with a push of a button to lock the classroom doors forbidding any tardy being entry. When word got around about his propensities tardiness for his classes became almost non-existent. "Well non-existent until Lar-Gand became an increasingly militaristic society. Suddenly no citizen gave a cold dram about exploring the high realms, not even via remote probe." The old male thought to himself as he fidgeted wondering when his old "friend" would deign to allow him ingress. Finally the officious looking secretary said in a bored tone, "The Prime Majister will see you now citizen."
Tornak opened his mouth to correct the still wet behind the neck little twit when from the inner chambers the sound of a door opening and a booming voice calling forth, "Rami, he didn't study twenty seven years to be called "citizen" isn't that right Doctorus Tornak?"
At the sight of his old friend Tornak's black mood lifted and he could not help but laugh. "Perhaps. But let us not stand on titles today, lest I waste what little audience I have been granted in rattling off all of yours." The Prime Majister motioned for him to enter and then shut the doors.
Finally after several minutes of catching up the two males sat each with a glass of Tablux. After a moment of companionable silence the Majister looked at Tornak and asked, "Tell me Tolgas, what do you know of juggling."
Of all the questions he was expecting this was pretty much so far down on the list as to have never actually occurred to him. "Well, I suppose it depends on the type of juggling Znarr."
At this the Majister laughed. "Ah quite. I had forgotten about your talent for managing to say "I don't know" without actually having to say those dreaded words."
Feeling a bit put upon Tornak snorted and said, "Fine, I don't have fumfricking clue what in the chill you are talking about. Since I'm old and going to die soon, how about if you do me a small favor and just come to the fumfricking point."
Taking a sip of his drink Rus Znarr took a moment to compose his thoughts. "War is a wonderful thing..." He started to say when his old friend leapt to his feet in rage.
"Oh? Really? Tell that to the countless dead proto-citizens, tell that to the soldiers, tell that to my Wife!" Tornak's voice grew louder and louder until finally he was shouting in the Majister's face. The sound of the latch on the door being undone and a three sentient security detail coming in weapons drawn helped him to realize just how out of control he had become. The female on point looked at the planet's elected leader and calmly asked, "Is all well within Prime?"
Majister Rus nodded and looked at his chieftan of security, "All is calm within and without chieftan." Nodding at the Majister's use of the pre-designated code phrase she had her subordinates withdraw.
"Well Tolgas while I'm not unpleased to see that you are still capable of all the passion I recall from when I was a mere representer and you a newly minted educator, perhaps I can presume upon my office for a moment and earn sufficient silence that I might actually manage finishing what the fumfrick I was saying?" Sitting down, the older man simply nodded.
"Good. Now as I started to say, War is a wonderful thing when it comes to uniting a people towards a common cause. I suspect it is the reason why leaders of both the Lar-Gand and the Dev-Em peoples turned to it so often the way an addict turns to the dream draught. But it has proven far too costly. I know this as do you."
Rus paused to take a breath and to see if Tornak could bear to hold his tongue for even such a small interlude. Surprisingly the silence held until he chose to break it anew. "The thing of it is, that our people need a cause to unite them."
Unable to hold silence any longer the educator and scientist spoke up quietly. "But we have a cause. Rebuilding the planet."
"Yes and no. In the early days rebuilding was all consuming. But now? Now far too many people who were a part of that effort have come to find that they are no longer as keenly needed. Now in time I'm sure there will come a day when the people of Lar-Dev will be able to pursue their own interests with the same zeal that war and then rebuilding have been pursued. But I don't believe that time has yet come."
Considering this for a moment the old male looked up from contemplating the patterns in the rug. "Let's say, for the sake of arguing that you are correct. What could the people be offered that would unite them in the same way as war and rebuilding?"
At this question, a question he had been eagerly waiting to ask, the Majister smiled and said, "What about taking our place within the interstellar community?"
Tornak's face grew bright blue. His breathing became exceedingly deep. For a moment Rus thought his old friend was having a heart, possibly a hearts attack. Just about the moment he was ready to call for medical intervention Tornak said weakly, "If this is a joke I will declare a rebellion and kill you in the name of the people."
Rus frowned warmly. "It's no joke my friend. I want us to reach out to an extraterritorial race and I want you in charge of the effort."
The old scientist's breathing was coming quickly now. "When do we start?"
Prime Majisters Log: Five Hundred and Sixty Second Day of accord:
There are stories from the planets dark past times about those who enforced their will upon the people instead of leading by consensus. I was raised, even in the days before a united Territory to view such beings as cruel, and wasteful and just plain wrong. But considering the amount of wrangling, wheedling, wheeling dealing and just plain seat kissing I have had to do, to get approval, and funding for Project Contact I will not deny that there have been moments when I have envied the despots of old.
But I think all the efforts of myself, the newly created Citizenry's Bureau of Extraterritorial Affairs, and a whole host of affiliated bureaus is going to pay off and soon.
For the last year we have sent out probes containing a complete history of the Lar-Dev people, a display of our technological capabilities, and an invitation to come and visit us, with directions how to find our prime solon, and information about how to access the global communication network.
The hardest part was convincing a majority of the people that we are safe in doing this. Tornak has always maintained that any race that managed to achieve interstellar travel would have moved past the petty warlike behaviors that the planet bound tend to exhibit and have embraced peaceful cooperation. His words always stuck with me and it has been the reason why I have wanted to seek out the attention of the interstellar community even though we have yet to leave our own territory.
Now we have gotten data back from a probe that gives the sense that it has made contact with a vessel of alien origin. And the sensing satellites seem to indicate that it is coming towards us. Based on its present speed we expect that it should be close enough to contact us by tomorrow, day after at the latest. My lovely and ever so patient life mate has gently demanded that I spend the rest of this evening with her and our children, and since this is likely to be the last time I will have the chance to do so, for several days I have graciously acceded to her demands.
The soft purr of his lifemate's voice roused Znarr from his near slumber. "What do you suppose they'll look like?"
"hmm?" He asked sleepily.
"The aliens. What do you suppose they'll look like?" Rus Leroz asked.
The Majister considered this for a moment. "Well normal I suppose. You know four legs, six arms, blue skin, normal."
"How terribly boring that would be." His lifemate replied.
"Boring? We are on the threshold of meeting beings from beyond our territory and you've already declared them boring?"
"Well no, but, it seems to me that there's no law of the sciences that says that beings not born here should have to look like us. Wouldn't it be more exciting, more fun if they were truly alien?"
"Well I suppose. But what's your notion of alien my dear?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe only two legs and two arms. With pink skin. And soft fur on their heads. And other places."
Allowing one of his hands to drift towards the entry to his females birthing pouch he said teasingly, "What might one ask other places were you envisioning?"
This question resulted in the loving couple spending another period of time contemplating their species own biology.
After deciding that they were both hungry the two of them got dressed and headed down to the kitchen. Sensors alerted the night staff and in moments a small snack was being whipped together. As the Prime Majister and his Prime Lifemate sat in the informal dinings area they held hands as if they were still freshly minted Citizens, and newly Bound.
"You must be very nervous." Leroz said quietly.
"Why do you say that?" Znarr asked his puzzlement clear.
"My lifemate and fertilizer of our offspring, you have never been anything other than loving and demonstrably so. But in all the times I've known you, it is only when you are worried about something that you become so aggressively, exhaustively sexual."
Znarr paled slightly, and then suddenly something occurred to him. "Is that why you have always referred to our offspring as 'The Children of Crisis'?"
His mate frowned enigmatically and said, "Well if you look at their birth dates and do the math..."
For reasons that he could not explain, reasons he wasn't entirely sure he completely understood himself the leader of the united Citizens of Lar-Dev found this incredibly funny. After he spent several moments laughing loudly he suddenly took a deep breath.
"Le?" He said quietly.
"What my love?"
"What if this is all a huge mistake? What if we have made mis-assumptions about the kind of beings out there in the stars? What if they are not peaceful and kind?" He asked all this quickly and quietly, in a rush as if he were afraid that if he didn't ask these questions now he'd never find the courage to ask them. And he knew that he was in the presence of the only person in the world whom he could trust to take his doubts in stride.
"In all our years of bondhood it has never been my habit to throw your words back in your face. Would you not agree that to be so?"
"Then know that I do not quote you to yourself to dismiss your concerns. But because the wisest answer I can give you is one you have already given to others."
The Majister swallowed hard and nodding said, "Alright."
Taking a moment to get the words right in her mind his mate spoke after a moment. "We are born to die. This is not fatalism but mere fact. Accepting this fact the question comes how shall we go to our deaths? Some go willingly, eagerly even. Others go fighting. But for myself what I think is of greater import is, what is the state of our deepest inner selves. Tomorrow I shall go to attempt to make peace with those who we have long held as our direst and most implacable foes. Should I go to them with fear and hatred in my hearts? Or should I go with a belief, with a bedrock faith in our common Citizenhood, and with a sincere hope that they desire peace as strongly as we do? For myself if I am to die in doing this I would rather it be said that at no moment did I foresake the true peace, and at no time did I lose faith in myself or my fellow citizens. Both at home among friendly faces and abroad among those who I once called foe."
Znarr gazed into his mates eyes, his tears matching hers. He opened his mouth to speak but she put a hand over it. "I do not know what will happen tomorrow. But the existence of life beyond our territory is fact. And the fact that you choose to embrace this rather than hiding and hoping we will be left be, makes me prouder than I have words to say to be your mate and the mother of your offspring. Now eat and let's try to get some sleep. You know how dark you look on vidfeed if you're overly tired."
The next day was a constant rush of last minute preparations. A public space was prepared and the com system was on standby. It had been decided that since it would be mid-day at the Majisterial residence when the vessel should be on communication range that they would initiate contact rather than waiting for the aliens to do so.
Finally the moment came, and the yellow "active" light came on telling the Prime Majister that he could begin speaking.
"My fellow Citizens. In just a moments time a signal will be sent to the extraterritorial ship making its way toward us. I will send directly to them a message of friendship and well wishing. And then it is hoped that the whole of the Lar-Dev people will hear their reply. As you have no doubt learned by now I am not prone to long speeches. But I do want to take a moment to thank not only every scientist and technician for their efforts but also the whole of the Lar-Dev. This historic moment could not have come to be if not for the support of all Citizens everywhere. And now I shall address myself to those above us whom I hope shall name us friends as we wish to so name them."
At this signal a second yellow light came on indicating that they were now transmitting to the alien vessel. "Welcome visitors. On behalf of the united Citizens of Lar-Dev I beckon you come and know us, and let us know you in return. Come in peace, and go in peace when it is your will to do so."
After a moments crackly silence a third blue light came on indicating an incoming transmission. Everyone held their breath not wanting to miss the first words spoken by extraterritorial beings.
"We are the Borg..."
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