Monday, May 29, 2017

Food Chainers Make Better Fighters

"Food" as an Alien Concept


In this excerpt, the sixth Emperor of the Empire of Earth ("E VI") is being briefed for the first time by the alien ally "Tay" and Bobby.  Tay's race evolved on a gas giant planet not unlike Jupiter. Bobby is the human "Reluctant God" of book title fame. N'Gai Toledo is E VI's genius toady.

“Perhaps I should continue the briefing,” said Bobby.

“I don’t think so,” said the emperor. Every eye in the room snapped into focus on his face. Bobby raised one eyebrow but said nothing. “I need to know a few things first. I need to know a bit more about our allies. I need to know why – as I understand it – the more senior civilizations we are associating with are apparently leaving the scene of the impending battle in great haste, leaving the confrontation with this Satan thing to a young and perhaps backward group like our little empire here.” E VI’s eyes were stoney as they zeroed in on Tay. “It looks like to me that you are using us to do the dirty work while you just do a little virtual consultation. Can you set me straight on this assumption?”

With no noticeable hesitation, Tay rumbled, “Food chain.”

“Food chain?” N’Gai Toledo practically barked. “You are saying we are lower on the food chain so we earn the position of sacrificial lamb while you run to safety?” His eyes actually bulged slightly with what was clearly honest outrage.

“A reasonable but incorrect assumption,” said Tay. It was clear to most in the room that this was an out-of-bounds comment, considering Toledo’s famous ego. But Tay continued, apparently not noticing the additional degrees of steeliness in N’Gai’s eyes. 

“The fact that your species has evolved in a food chain milieu makes you far better warriors than the likes of us, to whom food chains were incomprehensibly alien until we became spacefarers and witnessed them in various species. The inherent competitiveness of eat or be eaten in food chain creatures gives rise to far more aggressive and canny combatants. Your race is a prime example.”

E VI and Toledo were stopped cold. The Emperor was particularly struck with the “incomprehensibly alien” comment, as he realized that creatures not in a food chain were just such to him. 

“Ummm,” he said, considerably cooled. “You are saying that you … the Heglin … evolved in some way not in a food chain? You are not the top of your food chain?”

“Exactly,” said Tay. “We obtained our corporeal energy from our stars and from the gasses of our planets. There were other living creatures in our environment, but the idea of consuming them for energy or being consumed by them would have been considered ridiculous – not to mention impossible. It was actually never even contemplated. As I’m sure the briefest of analysis will convince you, we surely have radically different basic psychologies, you and us. Equally obvious should be two certainties. You make far better warriors. And Satan surely is a creature also born of food chain evolution.”

Tay stopped speaking. No one else said a word. There was a considerable span of silence.

Finally, Bobby cleared his throat and said again, “Perhaps I should continue the briefing.”

The Emperor nodded curtly.

As Jupiter data starts reeling out from NASA's Juno spacecraft, old guy sci-fi types like me just have extrapolation extravaganzas!

[Check it out at Amazon.   Be sure to go to "Older Posts" at the bottom.]

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