Author Topic: The Universe is in Safe Hands  (Read 1518 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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The Universe is in Safe Hands
« on: June 17, 2009, 01:59:58 PM »
This is actually an extended version of the prelimary blurb for the Preservation campaigns. I just wanted to complete the story of Vy-Ghrr.

Vy-Ghrr waddled hurriedly along the outer cloister of the Temple of Omnipotence, his ponderous bulk swaying from side to side. As usual, he was late for his audience with the High Keeper and Mu-Thron was overly concerned about punctuality. Why the High Keeper had forbidden teleportation within the Temple was a mystery to Vy-Ghrr but, as far as he was concerned, if the Seven Gods had meant for him to walk, they would have given him stronger ambulatory appendages. By the time he finally arrived in the great hall, he was flustered and exhausted in equal measure and cowered under Mu-Thron’s stern visage.
   “I see you have finally graced me with your presence, Vy-Ghrr. I assume this is because you worked throughout the night on producing a most impressive report on the primitive planet on the outer edge of the Dygarh Spiral Arm?” Mu-Thron’s tertiary auditory sensors leaned forward to lend an unmistakable degree of sarcasm to his question.
   “It is as you say, Exalted One,” replied Vy-Ghrr, cringing at the foot of the steps leading up to the High Keeper’s throne and hoping Mu-Thron would not ask to see the report that consisted of two sheets of parchment and constituted a hurried ten minutes work. “I am happy to provide a verbal summary if you so desire”
   “No doubt I would be bored into hibernation by the time I read your report anyway, if it is as exciting as the previous ones. Present your summary.”
   “The planet has a single, laterally symmetrical, bipedal species that could be classed as fully sentient, although they have very limited technology. There is evidence of cultural activity such as art, basic musical composition and some diversity of architecture.”
   “Any sign of militancy or violent behaviour?”
   Vy-Ghrr paused for a moment, well aware that his few minutes of study could not provide conclusive proof of the non-violent behaviour that was a pre-requisite for species preservation, but also conscious that reporting such a lack of knowledge would reveal his laziness to Mu-Thron. A very unpleasant prospect. Besides, he hadn’t seen anything suspicious in the few holographic images from the remote space-time viewer that he had bothered to examine closely.
   “No, Exalted One, they appear to be a very peaceful race.”
   “Very well. They seem to meet the necessary requirements and I have no wish to spend any more time on this distraction. When will their extinction take place?”
   “Three days, Exalted One.”
   “And they do not know of their impending demise?”
   “Their sensory devices are most limited and they will only realise a black hole is moving through their system in the hours before their planet is torn apart by gravitational flux.”
   Mu-Thron lifted his sceptre and adopted a bored expression. “Junior Keeper Vy-Ghrr, you are hereby instructed to carry out a Preservation Order on species 7392.”
   Vy-Ghrr bowed. “Thank you, Exalted One. Should I include temporal preservation?”
   “If you wish. Now be gone, I have important matters to attend to.”
   Vy-Ghrr waddled away backwards, bowing until he reached the archway to the inner cloister.

Back in his office and floating in his anti-gravity field, Vy-Ghrr quickly reviewed his data on the planet in question. According to regulations, his duty was to carry out a thorough examination of species 7392 and select samples of its most highly developed cultural societies for preservation. However, he had agreed to meet Cha-Yurr, a most attractive female, before the setting of the second moon and his already limited chance of visiting her hibernation chamber would be reduced to zero if he was late again.
   As the preservation order was for a primitive species, he instructed his office AI to run a temporal search for dominant societies throughout the history of the planet and to preserve a section of each. As there was no evidence of violence, albeit from a very limited sample, the dominant societies would surely be those that were culturally the most sophisticated. To avoid the problems occasionally associated with bringing together societies with different temporal coordinates, all the samples would be sent to different planets within a remote galaxy and provided with sufficient resources to maintain their society. His task complete, Vy-Ghrr activated the teleporter and arrived in Cha-Yurr’s living quarters on time. A most remarkable achievement for the Junior Keeper.

In his hurry, Vy-Ghrr forgot to add the necessary parameters for the type of resources to be provided to the preserved societies. The AI therefore fell back on the default package of assistance for a newly preserved society. Each society was provided with a suitable number of automated factories, deep-core mines and orbital shipyards, based on their population, to allow them to exploit the resources of their new worlds and expand into space. The AI interfaced with the telepathic scanner on the remote space-time viewer to investigate the mental processes of species 7392 and quickly realised their primitive science had insufficient knowledge to make full use of the default assistance package.    As part of the AI’s base programming was to make things happen as smoothly as possible, it painlessly added to every member of the preserved societies the skills required to operate their new facilities as well as the understanding of the science behind them. Once they awoke in their new home, they would be ready to expand their culture throughout a new galaxy. The AI did notice that this particular species had a far more violent history than any other preserved species, but Vy-Ghrr had not set any restrictions, so the AI proceeded as instructed.

*  *  *

"You summoned me, Exalted One," Vy-Ghrr mumbled, as he carefully studied the mosaic floor tiling of the great hall
   "As I recall, you reported  that species 7392 showed no sign of militancy or violent behaviour. Is that correct?" Mu-Thron's tone was suspiciously reasonable.
   "Yes, Exalted One."
   "Then why have fourteen planets been destroyed in a war between the…" Mu-Thron paused for a moment to consult a parchment report, " …the Third Reich and the Mongol Empire?"
   Vy-Ghrr's respiration increased rapidly and his ventral tentacle began twitching uncontrollably. Although regulations stated that he conduct a post-preservation review of species 7392, he had been spending far too much time in the Temple of Eternal Gratification of late and his work was suffering even more than usual. He grasped at a sudden idea.
   "A fault in the preservation process perhaps? There was the incident with species 6126 when a high-energy particle trapped in the preservation matrix caused their integument to become transparent."
   Even Mu-Thron shuddered at that memory. Species 6126 was disgusting enough even when their skin was opaque. Casting the momentary distraction aside, he glared at the cringing junior keeper.
   "Given the unique nature of that incident and the regularity of your incompetence, I believe it is far more likely the latter, rather than the former, is the cause of the disruption. According to these reports, there are several more wars in progress between the supposedly non-violent cultures of species 7392. Fix the problem. Immediately!"

Vy-Ghrr lay among Cha-Yurr's primary manipulative tentacles, relating the details of his difficult day at the office. Cha-Yurr purred sympathetically and began massaging the tension out of his eyestalks. As he began to relax, Vy-Ghrr was struck by a sudden burst of inspiration.
   "Don't you work in the Office of Temporal Modification?"
   "I do, but only in a very junior position." Vy-Ghrr realised Cha-Yurr's tentacles had stopped their soothing motion and she was looking at him with trepidation
   "I really need to borrow a Chronological Resequencer."
   "Vy-Ghrr that's not a good idea," she sighed, "Only supervisors are supposed to have access to those because of the dangers involved."
   "You know what Temporal Supervisors are like, always full of their own importance. Please, Cha-Yurr. My performance appraisal is due within two cycles and I think Mu-Thron is really upset this time." He wrapped his tentacles around her and mournfully lowered his eyestalks.

Vy-Ghrr was becoming more and more frustrated. Programming the Resequencer to undo the recent unfortunate events seemed like an ideal solution, but it was proving more complex than he expected, even with help from his AI. He couldn't remember the last time he had spent so long in his office. Cha-Yurr was not happy about borrowing the Resequencer without permission, so he didn't want to upset her further by being late for pre-hibernation ingestion. Finally, he decided the device was ready, despite the protestations of his over-cautious AI that more testing was required. He switched off the various safeties, activated the program and waited for the Resequencer to confirm the success of his modifications to the timeline.
   "Temporal paradox encountered. This universe has been terminated."
   Vy-Ghrr leaned forward, propped his secondary sensory organs on his primary manipulative tentacles and sulked. This was probably going to affect his chances of promotion.


Offline welchbloke

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Re: The Universe is in Safe Hands
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2009, 05:00:15 PM »
Quote from: "Steve Walmsley"
This is actually an extended version of the prelimary blurb for the Preservation campaigns. I just wanted to complete the story of Vy-Ghrr.

   "Temporal paradox encountered. This universe has been terminated."
   Vy-Ghrr leaned forward, propped his secondary sensory organs on his primary manipulative tentacles and sulked. This was probably going to affect his chances of promotion.

That made me laugh out loud; very Douglas Adamsesque


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