As promised, here is part two of Forgetting the Moral. And Keep an eye out through the rest of the week for a bonus short story!
Forgetting The Moral: Part Two
Then Came We
Our new world was once a cold and barren place. Isolated from the stars in its system, and cut off from any means of life-bearing warmth, its seasons were violent. Storms of ice and lightning ravaged its face, lasted years in our measure of time. What little atmosphere existed was comprised primarily of ammonia and arsenic gasses that spewed from vents of an equally volatile core.
Then came we; with our probes and our Terra-forming ships, and still later our manned crews, breathing apparati, and our zeal and enthusiasm. Then our masses– after, that is, we ignored the condemnations of the deadly atmosphere, and the exultation of a planetary voice that cried, “Stop! Come no further!” All were silenced, laid way by our science and faith in ourselves to start anew.
Our home was in shambles, chaotic after years of warring and utterly devastated by our human ravages. Its last survivors– men and women of great virtue– had looked star-ward for a safe-haven and built our ships, instruments and apparati. With security in their minds, they ventured forth in search of revitalization.
Then came we; with our cultures, forbearing thoughts, and histories of pride and achievement. Oh our shortsightedness! In the cataclysm of rebirth, we could not hear the planet that only cried, “No more. Go now! I am not the one to choose!” Thus we built cities, industries, and a new identity for our species. We paired old-world thought with new-world hope, returned ourselves to pass-times of relaxation, wit, and vitality.
And it was, as it has always been, our downfall.
For we came to this planet with a fixed way of thought; that all would be better as we re-begin. Though it was not this notion in itself that doomed us, it was surely a factor.
Through our technology, and lust for something better, we lost sight of the responsibility we had to our new world. Our Terra-forming and star-making (for that was the only way to warm this desolate place), probes and ships, transports and livelihoods, rational minds, zeal and enthusiasm, all contained our fatal flaw: an ingrained myopia.
All knew the story of our planetary migration, its cause and reasons therein. Every man and woman that has grown and lived since has been told the story thousands of times. But something was lost in the transference. Perhaps we told the story too often, or perhaps the flaw was so ingrained in ourselves that we pushed past the moral to stride onward with the plot.
In any case, it was our severest mistake.
For then came we with our anger; when our technologies and ideologies differed too greatly, adversary became a word found anew. Our aggression, greed, and trickery of words forced us once more to take from one another, demolish our veritable utopia with our fighting machines, wars, and death-bringers.
We returned to the ways of old, forgetting where we’d come from and why, lost sight of our common name: Humanity.
The fighting machines rose in scores, hitherto un-produced. These towering, mechanical beasts slayed cities without equal opposition, wandered in search of only one another as matched foe. Then, as our leaders once again drew imaginary lines in the sand, said “This side is yours and that mine.” But so ingrained was our damnable flaw that they were discontented to keep only what they’d assigned themselves.
So we plunged headlong into another global war. Death came to many whom only wished for peace and life, their only stake that of Humanity’s. Once again, we let fly atoms, let drop bombs, and let run sickly, Human masochism. With them burned cities, technology, and the wisdom of newfound ages.
Then went the particles of our positions in space-time, for our particle bombs ate them up as though ravaged by an insurmountable hunger. And our fighting machines, collapsing in on one another, left but rubble beneath, while Humanity’s dream of redemption was crushed under their weight.
Then went our atmosphere, no longer supplied its microbial stabilization by our great technology, spat upon and thrown into chaos by our destruction. Then, our core; no longer subdued by our artificial umbilical. And our Sun, for in order to keep its fuel sufficient, we surely must have paid more attention.
Then went all that came after the great migration. All of our strides forward. All of our looks back. All of the masterful cunning at the challenge of a lifeless rock that cried out, “Stop! For your own sakes! I am too great, and you are too few!” Then, once more, went our colony-ships to scour the void for a suitable vastness of rock. Once more came sorrow and remorse, for we had tread where we’d always feared to, and once more let greed, corruption, and anger rule us.
So here we sit, passing generations upon ships that traverse immeasurable darkness, scanning incalculable rocks and stars, searching– not only for a home, but also the end to our species’ long and pitiful history. We ask countless questions in search of guidance, forgiveness, and validation, again seeking an answer outward. We tell ourselves, teach our children, hear from our elders, “We shall never again make this mistake!”
But even now we suffer our myopia. Evermore we look outward, ahead. Even now, and evermore we live the story, forgetting the moral.