Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Judgment at Galaxy's Edge

It's said that things on the internet are out there forever. The same is true for transmissions carelessly beamed into deep space. If a society is the measure of its art, one needs to be aware of that stranger at the showing. Not all art critics are of the eclectic type; some probe past the surface veneer and into the soul of the artist.

Tonight's exhibition comes to you from fifty light-years west of the Twilight Zone.

Yorgl slithered into the combat action center of the warship. "Captain, we have intercepted transmissions from a star system known as Sol. This is extremely troubling."

"Load them on the viewer," the captain ordered.

Junior officers crowded about to examine a trio of data streams. The language was unknown, as were the creatures depicted. Under the symbols "Funny Videos" marched a series of images. Odd, two-legged beings experienced clumsy accidents.

"What is this reaction," queried the navigator, "in which they bare teeth and emit repetitive 'ha' sounds?"

Yorgl made bold to interpret. "We believe they record their failures for training and punishment. The teeth display is a threat."

"Most brutal," the captain decided.

Next came scenes of space battles under the symbols "Galactica".

"Impressive," said Weapons. "Yet the beings they fight are the same species. Perhaps they wage civil war."

The last series, labeled "Stooges", had the bridge crew in awed dismay.

"Can it be?" the captain mused. "They are impervious to falls from great heights, projectile weapons, and deadly liquids." As he watched, one called Moe took an industrial grinder to Curly's rear quarters. A shower of sparks flew. "Apparently their flesh has a high metal content."

"What shall we do?" asked the navigator.

"Clearly this race is a danger to themselves. How can they care about anyone else their warships come in contact with? Have the fleet alter course."

Two hundred warships began the turn toward a planet at the galactic rim.

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