Monday, May 26, 2014

Story D: The Choice, by Katie Clapham

Story D
The Choice

“Backwards, you say?”

“Yes. Left to right. Idiots human subset write also top to bottom.”

“Surely the preferred direction of writing is arbitrary.”

“Gods say not. See also stupidities your other. Zones time many. Nouns follow descriptors. System measurement adequate but universal not. Flow electricity plus to minus. Humans backwards ways many.”

“Well, we don’t have a single planetary government to set or enforce standards.”

“Problem also. Gods like not. Humans sloppy. Query: we fix.”

Maura sighed. If it wasn't enough that the Glim spoke just on the edge of comprehension, they insisted that she do the same. Then the meaning of their last sentence hit her. "What? NO! Most humans value their own individuality. Outside ..." She struggled for a word that would politely express her outrage. "Outside intervention is not desired." She knew that was not strictly true. There were many groups of humans that would eagerly embrace a means of changing all others to follow their vision of truth. She really did not want any hint of this offer to reach those groups.

"Being against Gods allowed not. Universe unstable makes. Danger to all."

Each of the groups that came to mind would say much the same thing, with different definitions of what was at risk. The Universe, the proper order, the soul...

She stared at the Glim around her. The three of them were different in color, one glowed with iridescent purples and blues, another with shades of forest greens to swamp browns, and another in oranges and yellows. The flickering lights that originated the name of their species flowed across their skin. They were distracting, but she had learned to recognize the signs of agitation, calm, excitement. She had not seen joy, did not know what that looked like. Agitation was faster and more jagged than excitement, and agitation is what she saw now.

"What would be necessary to leave humans as they are?"

"Sealed away necessary. Access to Correct beings never."

"How would you do that?"

"From Universe removed. Gods no longer to reach."

"What of our colony here?"

"To Earth returned. Traces removed."

The human race had encountered one other sentient species before this. They spoke as the Glim, but not with the arrogance of them. She had always had a sense when she encountered them that they were looking over their shoulders, if they had shoulders. Which they didn't. Now she knew why they were so nervous.

The Glim posed a choice: be cut off from any chance of further exploration, from any chance of escaping the limited space and resources of Earth, and perhaps, if the Glim were generous, the small colonization that had been done within the solar system, or lose the diversity that made humanity something more.

She didn't think they could survive either.

Why was it that one of the first species the human race encountered was a bunch of religious zealots, a bunch of all-powerful religious zealots, for that matter? She had seen some of what they could do. She did not doubt that they could do as they threatened.

"One in alignment proper repaired must make decision."

Before Maura could react, the three Glim touched her head. She felt an electric shock coursing through her body.

Decision difficult not. Clear all.

Maura nodded.