Category Archives: Short Story

Addendum to Professional Driving Course T-18 (2006)

for British Columbia, Canada
(Humorous short story – some of you may relate even. As the date says, this was written while I still drove for Coca Cola, something to entertain fellow drivers. Some thought it was funny, some didn’t get it and wanted an official copy from ICBC – the provincial ministry in charge of drivers’ licenses)

Dear students,

You have graduated from Professional Driving T-18. Congratulations. The following is intended to help you make sense of all that you have studied and practiced in the last 6 months. There is no extra charge for this information but we would encourage you all to read through these following pages and think about it. This information, while not an official part of the course, was collated from interviews with long-time professional drivers who, upon retiring, wanted to share some of their observations.

This section is called “Moving Obstacles.”

The road is your friend. When out on the road, remember to look at the road. It will always try to tell you what to expect as you travel along it. However, the road is not a free entity. Before you got on it, there were already other things moving on it. We call these things “moving obstacles.” They will resemble vehicles, for the most part, but sometimes will also resemble human beings or animals. Do not let that fool you. They are just moving obstacles.

Moving obstacles will be found ahead of you, behind you, coming at you from side roads or simply wandering along with no fixed destination. Some will be faster, some slower and some will be immobile. Do not let any of that disturb you. If a moving obstacle is in front of you, do not get too close. You can never know what it will do next. Moving obstacles do not, as a general rule, obey any known (or de-listed) traffic laws. Remember that these MO’s (as we shall so designate them) do not possess any intelligence or common sense. When interacting with them, you are entirely on your own. Do not assume anything. It is very important to note that MO’s and their cargo are incapable of understanding that road laws apply to them.

Let us give you some examples of what we are talking about.

If there is a double yellow line and an MO is stuck on your tail, do not speed up or slow down. Ignore it. Chances are it will suddenly veer to your left and attempt to zoom past you. That is normal. Let it go. Sometimes you will observe a strange movement of the hand coming from what is referred to as “the driver” – a human-like object sitting prone directly behind the steering wheel of the MO. The hand jerks up and a middle finger tends to spring up and remain stuck in an upright position. That is perfectly OK. This condition is common but not life-threatening. The human-like object can still function with its other hand – which will probably be occupied holding a small black or shiny grey object called a cell phone to the ear. All is fine. The MO is designed to handle such situations for short periods on straight roadways. Hold back and let it go. It may swerve back in its intended lane ahead of you, or if the road suddenly curves, may disappear off the road or crash into another MO. That’s totally normal. Remember students, you are not getting involved. Just keep watching the road. You have a schedule to keep. 

How to reason MO encounters.

We would instruct you to think of MO’s this way: Think of walking along the side of an unstable mountain. Suddenly you hear a rumble above you. You look up and see rocks begin to tumble down towards you. Using common sense, you will instantly know that such loose rocks will generally obey some simple rules of physics. They will tumble downhill towards you depending upon their shape and size, the make-up of their path, the pitch of the hill and force of gravity. You already know that stopping and screaming at them will make no difference. Running at them or downhill away from them will only result in them crashing into you. The only thing to do is to move either left or right away from their path. They will tumble past you and come to rest eventually at the bottom of the hill. So it is with MO’s. They obey certain very simple rules, which have, we repeat, nothing to do with man-made laws. Let them go. We cannot emphasize this too much.

If you are following an MO and it keeps changing its speed, keep your distance. Possibly it is looking for some egress from its current trajectory. If it signals to turn right, do not assume anything. It is just as likely to turn left. If it begins to pull over, do not begin to think it is parking. It may suddenly jerk forward again, without any warning. If it signals to turn left and moves way over to the right shoulder, then stops for no obvious reason, do not confront it. It will only get angry and react, involving you in a stupid accident in which you will be at fault. Patience is a virtue: use it when dealing with MO’s.

Remember: no intelligence rides with these constructs. You cannot reason with them. 
Never get angry at an MO. This is a total waste of time and dangerous. Think of them as wild animals and yourself on a touring safari. Remember that MO’s are an absolute necessary part of the whole “road show” system. You cannot destroy them, however much you think they deserve it. The System depends heavily on their willingness to throw money away along the road. That money is sometimes used in the maintenance of your friend, the road. Killing an MO is not only illegal, it would be stupid. Allow them to go ahead of you. The police enjoy chasing them and are likely to be preoccupied ticketing them while you blissfully pass on by. Businesses thrive because of them, keeping some of your costs lower. Politicians love them (hence why they are protected) because anytime they want to win an election, they put up signs that say things like, “Your tax dollars at work” and pretend to “fix” a piece of road. The human-like objects inside the MO’s are entitled to vote and some of them will respond to the gimmick and elect that “road fixer” politician.

Sorry students, we did not mean to get political. All we wanted to do was equip you to survive your first year as a BC certified professional driver.

Good luck and happy roads to you!

Dallas

Periodically I run a short story of mine here. Most of those pass by unobtrusively, a few likes, rarely a comment. I think it’s because most of my stories are parables that contain too damn much “Shatarian flossofy” that spoils the entertainment value. The odd time though, I can contain my exuberance and just tell a story.  Maybe this is such an odd time. Enjoy anyway.  Thanks for reading.
_______________________________

Dallas was a week from her 15th birthday when she disappeared. I am her older brother by almost 2 years. My name is Greg, or for some, Gregory, 3rd oldest of five siblings. Home is Hope, a small town at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley, if you will. The house is in an older subdivision on the way to Kawkawa lake. Not much ever happens in Hope and Dallas’ disappearance created quite a stir for the next year, until nothing was discovered or found and like so many, Dallas’ fate entered the missing persons’ growing police files.
Needless to say, the family was not the same after that. Mom was disconsolate but adamant that Dallas was just “lost” as she put it, that nothing had happened to her. She managed to communicate this feeling to me and upon graduating from Hope Secondary, I decided to go in search of Dallas.
There wasn’t much to go by, but I knew Dallas intimately – we were more than siblings, we were close friends, and I knew a lot of things about Dallas that she had not shared with any one else. I knew that she was restless, not close to anyone and tired of being “mom’s girl” at home. Dallas had grown wings prematurely and wanted to try them out. She had talked to me about leaving home many times but it was always something in the future, when she was “of age” so to speak. But youth is fed by impatience and Dallas added impetuosity to the volatile mix. Hope and home were much too constricting for someone like her. I could remember her flashing dark brown eyes and black pony tail swinging back and forth when she entered into an argument about something she felt deeply about, and Dallas felt deeply about everything.
So, with only mom knowing my plans, and a little over 2 years since Dallas had gone missing; with some money from an uncle’s inheritance, I set out on my private search for her.
I went west, to the city and port of Vancouver. After settling down I focused on doing research on teens running away from home. I did a lot of work to create a working pattern. I rented cheap accommodations where I set up my notebook and bluetooth mini printer. I transcribed my notes from the day’s search into computer files and printed pictures of Dallas to put on posts, bulletin boards or to pass around. I got to know a few city police detectives on missing kids detail and everyday was a new learning experience. I won’t bore you with the endless false leads, and the sick people trying to cash-in on leading me to Dallas. I learned to smell them out pretty quickly. And all the while, I discovered the dark heart of a modern megalopolis.
Having made my peace with the reality of the city I knew that anything was possible. I interacted with prostitutes, pimps and massage parlours, any sort of place or business that might provide a haven for underage female runaways. I didn’t think Dallas would go that route but desperation narrows choices. On the other side, I frequented movie sets where a young girl’s ID might not be checked too closely when an extra was needed in a hurry. I checked the Internet for ads and agencies that placed babysitters or nannies.
It was a strange time. The more I came up blank, the more convinced I became that I was on Dallas’ trail and would find her.
I dreamt about her sometimes, and every dream showed me this: that she was not only all right, but had found herself and was happy with her new life. Sometimes I met her in a restaurant where she waitressed, or in a rich household where she worked as a nanny. There was always that mischievous look in her eyes, the twinkling that said, “I have a secret and I won’t tell you what it is until and unless you discover it for yourself.” Then she would laugh and the dream would end.

I emailed or texted mom fairly regularly, skipping many details but reassuring her that I was not only still looking, but increasingly sure that I would find Dallas and that she would be well. Often I would get a simple reply: “Thank you, Gregory, thank you. – Mom”
It occurred to me, after over a year, and a third of my funds gone, to combine my search with some practical course on private investigating and journalism. Within a few months I felt confident that I had enough horse sense and street smarts to try working. I answered an ad from a family looking for their disappeared son. I visited the people and explained what I was doing in Vancouver and convinced them that I knew enough to be of value to them. We settled on a fee and I added 14 year old “William” to my search query, creating a new set of patterns. Not surprising (to me) I found William with a group of Lost Boys downtown, trying to earn some money washing windshields at intersections.
Once I was sure of him, I waited for a chance and approached him as casually as I knew how, offering him a small amount of money if he would run an errand for me. He was hungry and broke and completed the errand in record time. Before I paid him, I told him his name and asked him if he ever thought about returning home.

“You a f…king cop?” he snarled and almost bolted from the outdoor table I had chosen for the exchange. I gently but firmly put my hand on his arm.
“Oh, don’t be stupid, Will. A cop wouldn’t ask you to run an errand. I wanted you to have that to think about before I talked to you.”
“So what’s the deal? Why do you care who I am or what I do?”
“Should be obvious – I’m a private investigator hired to find you, and I found you. I can have you home within the hour… if you’ll let me. Hey, it’s no skin off my nose if you run, I get paid regardless. I report that I found you, the location, and that you took off. Doesn’t sound too smart to me, though. Whatever caused you to run in the first place couldn’t have been that serious, and it’s been 6 months. I think it’s time for you to go home, finish school, then think about leaving with your head high this time, with a job or a degree at least. You’re not a poor homeless kid, William. You’re a spoiled Yuppie brat who may just have learned a valuable lesson now. You can take advantage of that. You know what gets you the farthest in life? Self-discipline. You can do it to wash windshields, surely you can do it to a greater end than that.”
So I returned a subdued William to his grateful parents. And I found other jobs; learned to collaborate with some of the undercover cops and my life slowly changed, but my purpose remained steadfastly the same: to find Dallas. Another year went by and I figured most would have given up by now. But something was inextricably linked in my mind: Dallas and the City. Dallas and I. All three of us were drawing together, I could sense this.
The City, as ugly and frightening as it had appeared at first, was definitely growing on me. I saw her gross sins and could forgive many of them. I interacted with her victims, the rich and the poor, and found out many didn’t mind being victims and I learned to accept that. And I wrote all of that down in my notes and began to feed some of my impressions to the borderline underground press that proliferated in the City. I deliberately used my real name to sign my articles and made sure it appeared frequently. I made a couple of “appearances” on radio talk shows about my work on the street, and what I had learned in interaction with the “Wendy’s” and the “Lost Boys,” as I called the runaways; their pimps, employers, lovers, and mentors.
And as I somehow knew it would, it happened: I found Dallas. She did investigating for a couple of Internet news blogs between other jobs, and she saw my name on an article, found the radio program on the Internet and contacted me by email. My heart soared as old Chief Dan George would have said. We chose to meet in a Starbucks, neutral grounds. I was there early because I wanted to watch her walk in; wondering how much she’d changed; if I would recognize her.
I had no trouble recognizing her face. Her hair was longer, no longer in a pony tail but allowed to flow freely thick over her shoulders. She appeared a bit taller, slimmer certainly, and much older. She wore a brown fake leather jacket and a short blue skirt and knee-length high heeled black boots. But that dark brown-eyed twinkle was as bright as ever.
“Dallas!” I couldn’t help calling as she looked over the crowd and line-ups. She saw me and smiled. It was still that special smile she used on me when we were “kids” it seemed so long ago. She came over, hugged me and went to get an espresso. I watched her, the poise, the certainty, the assurance. I should not have been surprised, but I was regardless. I couldn’t help but remember that she had not yet turned 15 when she left home and Hope to find herself. And I though it uncanny how right both mom and I had been about her. Except that she was never lost: she had her own map, her own destination and her own destiny to fulfill. And as I watched that young woman interacting with the guy behind the counter, I realized what her mind had told her, those eventful years ago: “It’s time Dallas. Leave – now, or forfeit your purpose. They will take you, when you come of age; when you have graduated, or earned a degree, and they will file you, pigeon-hole you, and you will become the living dead, just like your parents, your teachers, the adults you see on TV and meet in the stores. They will make you fit in. You’ll get married, get a house and stuff, have kids, part-time brain dead job, and walk the treadmill until you die. Walk away now, Dallas. You can do it.”
And, she had.
We didn’t talk very long that morning. I was on a case and she had reports to file, so we decided to meet at my place. Hers she said, was a bit crowded; she lived with two other women, one of whom was her lover – for the time being – she added with that twinkle. “Neither one of us is ready to settle, and I don’t think I want a serious relationship, at least not for a long time.”
She came to my place and having settled my case that afternoon and gotten paid, I got the goodies and wine and we talked, basically all through the night. And although the question was burning on my tongue, I never asked her why she hadn’t contacted mom, nor whether she would now. It didn’t seem appropriate and besides, she was the one asking the questions.
“OK, so I can see mom would try to put you up to this, but why did you come looking for me, Greg? Why didn’t you just let it go? Huh? She got up abruptly from the chair, sending it flying ass over tea kettle, turned, grabbed it and threw it back on its feet. She turned her back to me and talked: “I’ll tell you why you came to find me. You didn’t believe that I was lost. I became an opportunity for you, didn’t I. An excuse to leave also. Romance, excitement, feelings, emotions, so many things that tend to get bottled up in a small town stuck against a mountain and a river, things that can be let loose and expressed in countless ways, good and bad, here in the metro. You wanted what I had discovered. And you wanted to find me to prove to yourself that you had found it too. You followed me, not to find me, though that was your intent, but to find yourself. You were the one who was lost, Gregory. You were never going to find yourself in Hope, or in whatever institution you ended up working for. You sensed it, and you found my map in your mind, where I left you a copy. So, have you found yourself, Greg?”
She turned just as abruptly, leaned down with both hands flat on the small table and literally stared into my soul. She smiled thinly and sat down to sip some more wine. She waited for my answer.
“You are right, Dallas. The commitment, the gallantry, the chivalry, call it whatever you will, that was the cover story. The underlying motive was romance. I would do something different, and I had you to light my way. And Dallas?”
“Yes?”
“What a light you turned out to be!” She smiled again, and her eyes were wet, as were mine. We finished the wine and I called a taxi to take her home. We hugged once more just before she got in the car. She picked up the dragging edge of the long trench coat she was wearing and I closed the door, watching her disappear in the early morning mist and smog.
And the City stood surrounding us, neither smiling nor frowning, withholding comment and judgment.

The Elita Theorem

[a short story by  Sha’Tara]
(Inspired, in part, by Isaac Asimov’s “Prelude to Foundation)

 Ansar and Elita were what you would call lovers.  Ansar was a member of the galactic arch-council located at that time on the pivotal world they called Juno.  Elita was mathematician and social historian at the famed university of Urtank, in the central high mountains of Sector T-41 of planet Quatl-Iln.  The following is a time-captured record of a brief exchange that took place in those long ago days after Elita worked out a program from a theory that stated that “time” was primarily a recording device in which could be read both past and future events.  The sharper the “reader” the more accurate would the reading of the sought events be.  It is all old hat now, as they say, but in the years prior to mankind’s initial scattering from his original galaxy (circa year 22,000 old reckoning) this was considered very naïve and pseudo-scientific.  But let’s hear what they were saying…

“We have a past, you know, Ansar.  A real past, which to this day society insists on dubbing a myth.  I’ll be brief.  We originated on one world only and you’ve heard that “myth” before, I’m sure.  You don’t buy it, but I do.  And then I don’t.”

“Make some sense, Elita.  Don’t speak to me in your usual riddles.  Either you do, or you don’t.  You can’t have it both ways.”

“No riddle.  Just simple fact which I can have “both ways” as you so eloquently put.  Our world of origin in the preserved language was called earth.  There mankind evolved, so it was thought, and taught, and from there he spread his wings and flew away to discover the galaxy.  And now, we are once more precariously balanced upon the horns of an old dilemma.  For centuries our real growth has been in decline.  At the same time, mankind is again looking beyond his doorstep, this time looking to jump to other galaxies and perhaps begin again.  And I can generally predict what is going to happen.  We are going to make the jump.  We will “begin” again and what we leave behind will continue to decline, to shrivel upon itself and die.  As did earth.”

“How do you know this?”

“Mathematical projection says so.  Observation says so.  Simple statistical projection says so.  Increasingly indolent ways of a pampered population says so.  Breakthroughs in non-ship-non-moving travel says so.  Shortages in resources marginalizing and starving millions of poorer planets says so.   The leadership vacuum says so.   Before rebellions and total war engulf the galaxy, you will have a scattering.  These scatterings are the seedings, and every time a group of humans seeds itself upon a new world as yet untouched by previous human presence and exploitation, that group is irreversibly changed.  Those who survive become, to the eyes of those left behind (if they are able to see) either monsters, mutants, or super-human depending on the point of view.  And, what was left behind fears these who have escaped.  Their authorities pursue them, hoping to control them and to feed from them.  Failing that, trying to destroy them.” 

“But what does any of that say to your belief that some mythical world called earth was man’s original world?”

“Don’t you see?  Earth man was a seedling.  It was planted on that ancient now long-gone world and it flourished there.  But it did not actually originate there.  It did not, as was then claimed, physically evolve from the muck and mire of the planet, anymore than we evolved from the rocky strata of this stony world.  The early people of earth were ruled and enslaved by their forebears but in their fevered discovery of new-found abilities, they shook off the yoke of their masters, of the sowers, and unmindful of the consequences, literally exiled themselves upon their world with no means of leaving, or of contacting any other possible sown worlds.  So engrossed did they become with self-discovery and exploitation of their world that they soon forgot how they got there.  New leadership, fearful of having to share power with galactic powers, ordered the re-writing of history and established religions that relegated the real-life human sowers to ineffable divinities to be idolized in worship.  

It would be thousands of years before the ever-present urge to resume the sowing cycle would obsess these Earthians and they would abandon their internecine warfare to concentrate on going to the stars.  Predictably they did so, for we are here.  And predictably, they carried with them the belief that they originated on earth, thus making that world the ruling world of the galaxy.  Sadly, that is why it was slagged by the “new” children who did not tolerate that a backward little planet so far from galactic centre would rule over the whole.   Much was lost in the destruction of earth but the greatest loss was in records of what happened so long ago, before Earthians were solidly established on their new world.  Records of previous generations, previous intelligences, previous star-farers who gave birth to Earthians and thence, to us.  We must re-discover those records.”  

“You make a persuasive argument but I remain unconvinced.  You have no real proof that what you have conjured could ever have some basis in  fact.” 

“Proof.  People put so much faith in that word.  But perhaps there is proof.  If I could actually and correctly predict a specific future event using certain formulas I’ve developed, would you consider that proof that we can draw out reality from the chaos of the unknown?”

“If, indeed!  Yes, if you could predict exactly a certain future event, I’d see that as proof.  But what about the past?”

“But don’t you see it?  There is no difference.  If we can accurately predict the future, we can just as accurately “predict” what happened in the unknown past.  Let’s say that your family drove to a certain town while you were in your mother’s womb.  Once in that new town, you were born there.  The family possessed a past that was not yours.  However, when old enough to drive, you could choose to drive forward from that town, or to, in a sense, retrace your family’s steps by driving back down the road into the past.  Some things would be different, but you could verify that the world they spoke of did in fact exist. 

I believe that my computer program and my calculations can do this for mankind and perhaps much more.  Certainly we will be able to “verify” not only where we are going, but where we come from. There are those who are so intent on destroying all vestiges of the old myths.  They want to destroy the old religions that have clung to mankind from the earth days to now.  The way to demystify the past is not by pretending or claiming it did not happen, but by proving it did happen, and demonstrating how it did so.  The ancient “gods” then become simple humans with what would be to us very primitive technology and were neither eternal nor all-powerful non-material beings as fabricated religions have falsely claimed for so long until now.” 

“Interesting.  With our funding, you claim you can develop this new science that will show not only how our future will develop but prove that the mythical past did in fact happen?  Will there be more to your argument when you present it to the Council for, what must certainly become, substantial additional funding?”

“Do I need more?  Are you not curious?  Would you not risk a few billion credits to find out where you came from and where you are going in, say, a thousand years from now?  If we, as humans, must continue to bootstrap our ways across parsecs and eons of space-time, can’t we at least secure stronger and longer straps for ourselves?  Must our existence continue to be an endless, chaotic gamble against the forces of time and the universe?  Must we forever be running from our enemies, be they competing intelligences or depleted environments, and towards unknown conditions that may test us beyond our abilities to resist and overcome?  I think that what we term “expanded awareness” has to include an ability to remember the distant past and to appropriate to certainty a much longer portion of the future.  We cannot continue to launch ourselves as dandelion seeds in the winds for the day will come when we will literally fall in among an inimical race that will destroy us, probably out of fear of our predatory ways coupled with our unnaturally prolific birthrate.  We are predators, Ansar, and represent a very real threat to any other intelligent species already established around us.  It would be extremely naïve to think we have not been noticed.  If we know the future, we can avoid such an encounter and prevent catastrophe to ourselves.” 

“My curiosity is certainly not as expanded as yours, love.  But I’ll support you on Council even though I don’t share your enthusiasm for socio-history.  I would be satisfied if you could predict the next day of windless sunshine so we could go mountain climbing.  What do you say to that?”

“Just the two of us?”

“Just the two of us.”

“Would you accept an educated guess?”

“I will, but I have one condition.”

“Ah?”

“Will you accept my ring?  It will be a year tomorrow since the last time you said ‘no’ to me.”

“I accept your ring, Ansar.  Without conditions. As to the weather, my guess is the wind will have to be reckoned with but safe enough for experts like us.” 

 It was ten years later that Elita’s group in Urtank saw the first fruits of her efforts.  It was another twenty-three years before the theory was fully tested when a no-ship “fleet” consisting of seventeen billion people jumping off from Juno would have encountered an enemy force that would have destroyed them had they not “seen” this prior to departure and changed course accordingly.  Two hundred years after that, as this inimical intelligence began to seriously encroach upon new human settlements, it was caught in a 5-pronged attack by humans and was annihilated.  These perfectly timed attacks were devised using the Elita Theorem of time recordings.  

To add a little explanation to this theory, let me just say that it resembles the reading of those old movie strips.  Once a “time line” is focused upon, the computer can “play” the “image frames” either forward or backward.  An identical “time line” can be read from any number of different places, even distant galaxies, without distortion.  Hence the possibility of simultaneous action at vast distances. 

And so we are in the process of conquering the universe.  What will we do, should we discover that our universal space-time model does not apply beyond our universal borders?  Who will break through the next mystery should the Elita theorem fail at that point? Are we still curious enough to dare go and find out? Do we even have a choice?

 

A Rhetorical Question

Short story by Sha’Tara

“Don’t mean to pry but that’s three buses you let go by. You look at them, stare inside then you sit down again.”

“Yes, you’re right. I wanted to ride around town but I really have no clue about these buses. I don’t even know how to pay to ride.”

“Oh! My name is Amelia. How come you know nothing about city bus transit?”

“My name is Ben, pleased to meet you. I just came in on a train down from Slago.”

“Slago? What’s a Slago?”

“It’s actually a place no one’s heard of unless they live in Slago, with the possible exception of some lowly clerk in the revenue service.”

“Slago… that’s some name for a town.”

“Slago’s not a town Mel. It’s an abandoned gopher hole in the middle of a forest, half of which is dead due to a wild fire two summers ago.”

“You called me Mel. Why is it that everybody when they hear my name, they have to call me Mel?”

“You don’t like it?”

“I don’t give a damn, really. It was a rhetorical question. You do know about those?”

“Rhetorical question? I’ll ask you one: can you introduce me to these labyrinthine buses if I buy you dinner, or are you working today, or otherwise engaged?”

“That is not a rhetorical question; it begs a few answers.”

“So I don’t know what a rhetorical question is. Do you have any answers for me?”
“Sure, OK. No, I’m not working today, I was going to do some shopping. I can explain some bus basics, get you started. It’s not rocket science. Think: if the bozos you bump into on the sidewalks can do it, hey! And yes, I’ll accept your dinner invitation. Do I get to pick the restaurant?”

“You’ll have to, I don’t know anything about this city.”

How was I to know that a simple conversation in a bus stop would deliver a fun day, a great dinner, a whirlwind romance, two children, a house with an unaffordable mortgage, a philandering, abusive drinking husband and a bitter divorce eleven years later? How’s that for a rhetorical question.

The Gathering

(A simple story with some questions at the end…)

[short story… by  ~burning woman~  ]

The Ancient surveyed the group with his mind.  “I see we are all gathered – let us proceed.  Agenda, please.” 

Orija closes her eyes and intones: “This Great Gathering, ninth of a series of ten, is called to decide the fate of the Sol system in which lies a planet called Earth which has been of concerns to Gathering for some years now. This meeting will address those aspects that lie within our jurisdiction.”

“Very well.  Please begin.  I recognize Volarian Mosl as the first delegate.”

 “The Volarians are, hm, quite uncomfortable with the energies emanating from the Sol planet called Earth.  Without going into details already well known to this august body, we propose a terminal solution before the discomfort spreads further.  It is known to us that some Belgelians have offered limited space folding capabilities to a segment of Earthian humans who claim descent from those known to us as the Nibiruans.  As a result we have been forced to strengthen our shields against the possibility of a sudden eruption of Earth humans — whom we consider to be corrupted beyond redemption –within our space.  The situation among my people is volatile as we have not had to deal with outer world aggression in long ages.  Even our oldest mages cannot remember the days of war.  We are asking, once more, that this Gathering do something definitive to resolve this issue.  We do not wish to wait for another Gathering.  If nothing is done now, our space guild will take action as it sees fit to protect both our space and our trade routes.”

“Thank you Volarian Mosl.  Your position is clear to us.  Who else wishes to express thoughts on the Earthian problem?”

 “I, Jessik, ambassador for the autarch of Narssis wish to express our thoughts on the matter?”

 “Yes, ambassador Jessik, you may speak freely.”

 “Thank you.  I have a question to pose to the gathering.  Regarding the Earthian humans, as a species evolved on only one world, with limited intervention from outer world peoples, can it be said here, before this august gathering, that over the time we have watched them, they have been freely given all the necessary information needed to move in a direction,  or should I say, to develop in a way consistent with that of the rest of the Galactic family?  Can any Earthian claim that we, in some way, failed to give them all the necessary support to develop their minds and their hearts in accord with the Galactic aim of cooperation and mutual support for the sake of life?

 “This is of paramount importance to us Narssisians as adjudicators of the Galactic Code.  Should Earthians discover the workings within the Galaxy once they leave their planet, they may be instructed by some to put in a planetary claim that critical information was withheld from them and  further claim that whatever crime they could to be charged with, such as genocide or planeticide, would not apply since they were ignorant of the basic requirements of the Galactic code?”

 “The question has been heard and entered.  Would the Angels respond to ambassador Jessik’s question?”

“We are the Angels of Aglamar” responds in perfect unison a chorus of voices from unseen entities scattered throughout the Gathering, “and we will respond to the question truthfully. 

 “Since the beginning, the Earthian human species has been observed, guided, taught and shepherded by the very best of our specially trained Guardians.  Many went and lived on the Sol planet Earth as teachers.  It was not unexpected that the earlier Guardians would be treated unfairly and unkindly by the fearful, hate-filled creatures.  It was however quite unheard of that this treatment would continue and intensify.  After waves of persecution of those who heard and obeyed the teachings of the Guardians, it was decided not to send any more.  We chose instead to contact Earthians through the use of thought forms, awakening empathy in some of them.  It was our thought that Earthians would be more likely to listen to their own.  But again experience gained on other worlds failed us here.  They did not listen.  They have grown increasingly belligerent with the development of their modern technical skills.

“They used the knowledge brought to them to develop an inhuman form of technology that has rendered them insensitive and brutish.  What limited knowledge of the good we sowed among them over the millennia was apparently and for all practical purposes, lost, or deliberately discarded.  Few there are of Earth who today understand even a little of what life is about and we have plans with the Galactic Space Guild to attempt a rescue of this remnant. 

 As Angel Guardians, it is our intent at this juncture to withdraw ourselves from any further involvement with that species of humanity.  Sadly we conclude they are lost.  We regret to so inform the Gathering.”

“Ah, thank you Angel Guardians of Aglamar.  The darkness of sorrow clouds our thoughts on this matter.  Do we wish to continue this Gathering?”

 “Representative Weill-Straat from Qobel.”

 “Yes, representative.”

 “Qobel resents the implication that Earth is of no value.  We have put much energy to develop a plan for adding Earth to our interplanetary trade franchises.  Qobellian trade ships are orbiting the planet, out of the range of their scanners and shielded, of course,  awaiting the results of several delegations sent secretly to many of the greater Earthian trading houses which they call Banks and Corporations.  As always we are advocates of free choice, therefore free trade. 

“We believe that the Earthians are uniquely adapted to engage fully in interplanetary trade and understand its function better even than some Qobellians, to our shame.  There is a native trait in the Earthians that renders them immune to any suffering their trading may bring to life, including the life of members of their own species.  They understand the value of trade and the necessity of sacrifice to further its reach.  In fact, one of their most admirable traits is their willingness to sacrifice any number of lives for the benefit of trade and to go to war to protect and enhance trade on their world.  To us, the Earthians demonstrate the only hope for further advancement of civilization as we have developed it on Qobel. The wish of Qobel therefore is that we be given a free hand to fully interact with Earthian trading houses.”

 “Thank you, representative Qobel.  Is there anyone else here who wishes to address this issue?”

 “Yes, I would please.  My name is Lisa Echabar.  I am, huh, was, from Earth.”

 “Lisa Echabar from Earth.  You may address the Gathering.”

 “I had wished to say something profound on behalf of my world but after listening to the delegates, I am afraid my voice will seem rather small, frail and distant.  Perhaps even confused.  Yes, I am confused.  I wish to speak for Earth but everything said here about the people is, sadly, quite correct.  They have been given all the knowledge needed to live up to the demands of the Galactic code.  I know because my tribe lived according to the code and we were happy and healthy for long years.  It was because of our adherence to the code that my tribe was enslaved and finally destroyed.  Earth was an abundant planet under the rule of the code.  No one ever needed to go without either food or shelter.  It was known, and it is known, even to the technos, that peace is better than war – but never quite as profitable.  It was, and is, known to all that health is better than disease, but also not as profitable.  It was, and is, known that cooperation is superior to aggression, but again, not as profitable. 

“I have a complaint to voice at this Gathering and that is, when the predator/prey concept was surreptitiously introduced to Earth, where were the Angel Guardians then?  Did you not know that such a concept would bring horror upon a world designed originally to be a simple paradise of loving interaction between all the species of life upon it?  Or did you know but choose to do nothing to prevent this deadly poison from being brought to us? 

“I will tell you what happened to my world and to my people.  Both were given free will and free choice much sooner than they were able to understand their implications and responsibilities. The freedom came before the knowledge was given.  So it turned to lust and degradation.  When the knowledge was finally introduced, it was too late.  The poison was burning in every heart and every mind.  Only those scattered in small tribes in deserts, mountains or small islands on the seas escaped for a time.  But it came to them also, and when it did, they died by the millions.  I myself was a victim of the technos. 

“Perhaps it is not entirely the Earthians’ fault that they are as they are.  Perhaps they are not redeemable, and certainly this Gathering cannot pay heed to Belgelian and Qobel desires to take advantage of their inhuman trait, their lack of empathy and their innate greed.  Better to let them destroy themselves and cause their planet to simply go to sleep under them, holding back her seasonal bounties until all surface life is gone.  Perhaps that would be the most compassionate thing to do. 

“To bring them out of their world at their current state of understanding would be to plunge the galaxy in endless wars.  To allow them to proliferate more would be to increase the level of suffering the many must endure to support the luxuries of the few.  There is no balance on Earth.  What love there is, if it can be called that, is of a sexual and predatory nature. 

“Since those of us who were willing to demonstrate a better way; who would have made a difference, are not wanted on Earth and since the Angel Guardians have decided to abandon their efforts on behalf of those who were once my people – but are no longer – I don’t know what else to say.  I am not condemning; I am not accepting.  I am simply stating.  Please understand I do not seek redress  or justice for myself in this.  I only wished to share my awareness and experience.  May this Gathering act wisely in this grave matter.”

“Thank you, Lisa Echabar, ambassador for Earth.  Your thoughts are felt and understood by the Gathering. A vote to decide the fate of planet Earth and its life will be taken by authorized representatives of the council at the next, and last, Gathering.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Earth humanity, known as Homo Sapiens is a very ignorant and smug species.  That such as the above could actually be taking place, seems of no consequence here.  That the planet itself is showing signs of serious stress and possible environmental collapse is of little consequence. What matters is business as usual, let the consequences be borne by others.  That over 30,000 innocents die each day of preventable causes is acceptable collateral damage for the sake of free trade.  “The spice must flow” as the spacing guild navigators are fond of saying in Frank Herbert’s Dune novels.  Whatever the cost, resources must flow to the factories, and the goods must flow to the stores and from thence, to the homes to be turned into garbage and effluent.  That such garbage and effluent require the living sacrifice of 30,000 innocents – mostly babies and young children – each and every day, is cool; not a shocking revelation but just more “so what, there’s too many people on the planet anyway;” crass justification for the piratical profit from imposition of sanctions and maintenance of deadly endless wars.

Do we possess the knowledge to make our world into a paradise but simply refuse to do so?  Are we without empathy for those who suffer and die because of a system we support for our selfish ends?  Are we doomed; an irredeemable, violent, vicious, mindless species?  Is there no longer any choice, or are we unwilling to pay the price required for change? 

And what is that price?  What does life demand of us?  Of me? 

Now, who’s going to be the first to tell me to get into the spirit of Christmas?