Greflenix Trading Headquarters, Planet Cheltrax 4
Excerpts from the transcript of Captain Closk Jrhon’s trading report:
. . . we were just preparing to make contact with the subject planet, when the Divine Messenger appeared.
# # #
“All tests have been completed, Captain,” my first officer, Grell, said. “I can’t believe our luck. This planet is ripe: early stage tech development, relatively high population, mostly untapped natural resources, and a divided competitive political climate. We should have no problem establishing a very lucrative trade franchise here before the big outfits move in.”
I nodded my head in satisfaction. “No other issues, Zdond?” I asked the second officer.
“None worth mentioning, sir. We will have to take standard bioware precautions when we are on the planet. They don’t seem to have done anything to eliminate mundane biovectors.”
“Well, that’s probably going to be one of the first negotiating items then,” I said grinning at my crew. “Basic health tools are always one of the hottest items with primitive civilizations.”
I was just about to order that the stealth shield dropped, when my first officer noticed the arrival of the messenger.
“Captain,” Grell said, a strange quiver I had never heard before in his voice. “I think we may have a problem.” He pointed to the rear portion of the bridge.
There was a man floating there.
He was normal looking, except for the odd robe he wore and the golden light that seemed to surround him without visible source.
“You are not allowed to make contact with this planet or its inhabitants,” the messenger said with a resonant voice that seemed to carry force without being loud.
I was neither impressed nor happy. I turned to my second and said, “How did he get in here?”
“I don’t know, Captain,” Zdond said. “I noticed a light at the rear of the bridge, and suddenly he was just there.”
I turned back to the messenger. “I don’t know who you are or how you got here, but it’s going to take more than a surprising entrance and some lighting tricks to impress us. We are a licensed and authorized trading firm. There are no filings for this planet, and we intend to begin contact and trade negotiations with or without your approval.”
“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. That will not be allowed,” he said, with that same resonant voice.
Still unimpressed, I was about to tell him what I thought of who he was and what he did, when the navigator yelped and said, “Captain, I really think you should look at the displays.”
The planet was gone. So were the stars.
Over the next several minutes, we verified that we were not where we had been. We were in deep space, really deep, the vast emptiness between galactic clusters. We couldn’t even tell which of the distant galaxies was ours.
During the whole time we were trying to figure out where we were, the messenger, Gabriel, said and did nothing. As the reality of where we were began to sink in, I turned back to face him.
“Why have you moved us here?” I asked, already knowing the answer. He said nothing.
“Will you at least tell us why – God – will not allow us to trade with that planet?”
“This planet,” he said, and suddenly it was back in the view panel. There was no transition, we were simply back in orbit, as though we had never left. “Is the center point of all God’s creation. It is peopled by his chosen children. They are potential gods in embryo. Their lives on this world are but one step on their path to godhood. During their mortal existence, they are denied many things as part of their growth and testing process. Contact with other races of men is one of the things they are denied. Your contact will not be permitted.”
I was flabbergasted. “So that’s it? This is the center of creation, don’t touch?”
“What makes this the center of creation? It looks ordinary enough. I’ve seen twenty other worlds just like it, and ten others that are nicer.”
“It is the one world where God sent his own son, the savior of all mankind.”
I didn’t know what to say to that, so I asked another question.
“This all may be true, but how am I going to explain to my superiors that we found a highly exploitable world and just turned around and left?”
“You will tell them what I said. No contact verifiable by the inhabitants of this world will be permitted. The next one of your ships that attempts it will be left where I just took you. You may observe all you wish, as long as you make no contact that can be verified with any other person living on the planet. You may reveal nothing of yourselves, your nature, or life beyond this solar system.”
He stopped for a moment, and a half smile crossed his face. “You might be surprised at how many people already know of this system and come to observe.”
“Why would they do that if they can have no contact?”
“They come to worship.”
Again, I didn’t know how to react, so I continued. “Your words are powerful, and I believe, but you still haven’t told me how I am going to convince my superiors.”
“You will have your ship’s logs which will indicate where your ship has been. If that is not enough, you will also have this,” he said handing me a small gold disk.
When I took the disk, I suddenly saw the face of God.
I don’t know how to explain it otherwise. Any of you who have held that disk know what I mean. Every test anyone can devise shows the disk to be nothing other than ordinary gold alloy, and it exhibits no power or property that any instrument can track, but when a person holds it, they see the face of God.
I was so stunned when I first touched that disk that I nearly forgot the messenger. But I had to ask. “Who are you?”
“I am Gabriel, a son of God. I once lived on that planet. One day, I too will be a god and have my own creation, but that time is not now.
“Do not forget. You may observe as long as you make no contact.”
Then he was gone.
The ship’s sensors say he was never there. All we have is the record of our side of the conversation, and the undeniable evidence that our ship was briefly located in inter-galactic space. There is also the disk.
I have only one more thing to report. As we were preparing to leave the system, we had another visitor; this one did show on the sensors. He appeared on the bridge in a fashion similar to the previous messenger, but showed as a class 2 energy creature. He held a form somewhat close to human, but transparent.
“I am the god of this world!” it boomed, making our ears ring. “You must contact these people and save them from their primitive ignorance.”
Even if I had not already held the disk and seen the face of God, I doubt I would have been taken in by this charlatan. It was trying too hard to convince us. I had heard of other beings of this type, never anything good.
“Obey me now! I am the god of this world. You must go quickly, or you will endure my awesome wrath,” it said glowing brighter.
“Because I command it! I am the god of this world!”
“I doubt it,” I said trying to appear calmer than I felt.
“Impudent mortal, you will pay!”
The thing then attempted spray one of our consoles with an electromagnetic discharge. The internal security systems easily neutralized the discharge, though the flash was annoying.
“I don’t think so,” I said turning to my first officer. “Grell, put a containment field around this thing and get it off my ship.”
“Already in place, Captain,” Grell said, taking obvious pleasure from the impotent screams of the thing as the containment field took hold and started moving it toward the nearest airlock.
# # #
I don’t know if this is sufficient evidence to discourage the company, but I know that I will never be party to any attempt to contact this planet. I know that we are not the first, and I suspect that we will not be the last to be given this warning. After adjusting our sensors for a more careful sweep for hidden ships, we found several who were doing just what the messenger had told us, observing. Several of the vessels were from ancient civilizations that I had only read of.
When we attempted to contact them, they responded that they were worshipping and wished not to be disturbed.
# # #
Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, SETI listening team
“Hey, Jim, I just had a thought,” Collin said near the end of their shift.
“What if there are other beings out there, but something is keeping them from contacting us?”
“Something that could pull off an interdiction like that would have to be almost unimaginably powerful. Are you saying we’re being blocked by some sort of prime mover, God?” he asked, derisively.
“Yeah, something like that.”
“You’ve been staring at your screen too long. I may believe in little green men, but I never bought that religious hogwash about gods and devils. Anyway, even if there was a god, or something like that taking a personal interest in us, why would it go to all that effort to keep us ignorant? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Still, if there was a god out there, like all the religious types are always saying, maybe it could be doing it to protect us, from cultural contamination or other stuff we can’t even imagine. It sure would explain a lot of things.”
“Maybe, but you won’t ever convince me of that,” Jim said, turning back to his computer and making another scan for messages from the heavens.
Copyright 2007 David K. Bennett