Reasonable Request by J. Allen Wentworth

(Page 2 of 5)

(7 ratings)
Rate this Story (5 best)

 

That coupled with quantum communications started what many have come to call the "Dispersion." Earth's population is down to about two billion from ten. My company has ships that have already landed on planets that promise to be rich in the minerals that have made all of this possible. We get reports on the news all the time about how another ship has found more intelligent life, but it's always the same. The residents of the planets are always all but identical to us from a genetic standpoint, and always have technology and culture similar to ours during the Renaissance.
During this past week I have received two memos that I have since shredded and burned. I sent my replies so well coded that I am sure no one could intercept them. One memo has to do with our newest experimental mining procedure.
The process of landing on a planet and digging its minerals out has become slow and unacceptable. There is no known alternative for the larger planets, however, moons and asteroids are a different matter. Our scientists in our research and development program have discovered a way to give useful oar in a planetoid a magnetic charge. They can then use the electromagnetic charge to counter the atomic forces of this planet and blow it to pieces. Then a ship would simply collect all the magnetized pieces and leave the rest behind. As is evident, this also has military and political implications. The device has been tested and works perfectly.
The second memo was about an even more delicate issue, and to it I have yet to reply. Our scouts found a planetoid that holds a large amount of what scientists call anti-matter. Until now, anti-matter has existed only in theory, but it would be a most useful energy source. It may even make it possible for a ship to exceed the speed of light. The planetoid is like any other on the outside, but the core is made entirely of this substance, kept from contact with the matter through some gravitational field I don't presume to understand. Our new method of mining is the only way to extract the anti-matter from the core of this moon. We blow up the matter, then the antimatter is floating in space and we harvest it. Our first landing crew found nothing. They reported that the surface was barren and could not sustain any form of life known to us. After the first returned, the ship's scanners detected some odd activity, and a second crew was sent to investigate.
There, on the surface of a barren wasteland, where before were none, were thousands of creatures. The team captured one of the smaller ones for testing. Along with the memo, they sent me a picture. It looked like us: Bipedal, all the same sensory mechanisms, but the memo said that it was nothing like us.
The creatures are Silicon-based, instead of Carbon-based. They don't need to breathe or eat or sleep. The anti-matter beneath the surface fuels their bodies. They are like machines. Our scientists told us that this was a more important discovery than even the existence of the anti-matter.

Next Page