PEST CONTROL

 

‘There’s an imperative.’

‘This isn’t a grammar lesson.’

‘Don’t be obtuse Leahan.’

‘I’m just saying that there are different ways of approaching this.’

‘And I’m quite clear there aren’t and I’m giving you an order. Comply with it.’

‘But it’s a sentient being. The rules say we have to consider that in a response. If it was a virus or a…’

‘They are laws, not rules. And I have complied with the laws. I’ve considered it. My consideration is clearly recorded in the determination. I have considered its characteristics at every level, and it is my determination, based on those considerations, that the threat posed outweighs any benefits or moral guidelines about the sanctity of life.’

‘But think what…’

‘It can teach us? Show us?’

‘Yes, and what we might be wiping out if we remove it.’

‘You think there’s just one of those things in the universe?’

‘I don’t know, but what if it was the last one and we wipe out the memory of an entire species? If we lose all chance of finding out where it comes from, why it’s here?’

‘As we appear to be unable to communicate with it using our senses, and our scientific probing lends us little insight beyond the basic biology, it strikes me as highly unlikely that we can learn anything by direct communication. On the other hand,’ the commander flicked a switch on the desk top console, ‘these records discovered on the craft, show an aggressive, violent and self destructive species, constantly fighting itself and destroying competing civilisations.’

As he spoke a series of images flashed across the screen in the room. Explosions, kinetic energy weapons, projectiles, thermonuclear explosions, destruction from chemical and biological attack flooded the room.

‘Happy to let it run amok in our solar system now you have an idea of what it did in its own?’

Leahan looked at the images that continued to flicker in horror across the screen. Hundreds, thousands of the creatures died, tormented and in agony from the actions of others of their own kind.

‘It might be a refugee from all that. The whole crew could have been escaping. We don’t know until we learn how to communicate with it.’

‘And the contents of the various pods and projectors of the craft?’

‘Have we determined definitively what they are?’

‘Thermonuclear warheads. Stimulated light emission beam weapons. And other destructive devices whose exact mechanisms are unclear, possibly electrical interruption of nervous pathways.’

‘That doesn’t mean…’

‘Leahan, your desire to learn, your desire to reach out and share with alien races, your essential kindness does you much credit. But that is why I am in command. Sometimes kindness has to be tempered with a hard eyed appreciation of the facts.’

‘Sir.’

‘That being may individually not be a threat to us, although two of the crew are already severely ill with parasitic infections it is carrying. But if it tells others of its kind what we are like, where we are, what we may offer them and their, I hesitate to use the word, civilisation, we may have to fight a brutal campaign against their predations simply to survive. They are clearly not a pacific species. We cannot take the risk. Do I make myself clear?’

‘Yes sir.’

‘Good. Now for the sake of all we hold dear, terminate the creature painlessly, and pray that it is last thing from planet Earth to come our way, wherever that God forsaken planet may be.’

 

Photo credit: <a href=”https://visualhunt.co/a5/0ae6e0″>NASA Goddard Photo and Video</a> on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re7/007e41ec”>VisualHunt.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”&gt; CC BY</a>

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