Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Planet of Apes



For James

I woke up completely confused. Something happened last night and I wasn't quite sure what. I felt pain everywhere. Was it a dream? No, it could not have been. I discovered strange markings on my wrist. There was no blood anywhere, but the markings looked liked a freshly cut polygonal wound. I touched it and a beam of light shot straight into my eyes. Like in trance I could suddenly hear a strange metallic voice.

"My name is Xanara, she said. I am a scientist from the planet Throxos.

You may not know it, but we come here to observe the progress of an experiment that our forefathers began in the protium cycle of time.

Back then such experiments were conducted by our scientists all over the known universe. They were incredibly curious and had a vision of a universe that was very different from the one they were born into. And while they were trying to decode their own origins, they decided to experiment with their genetic substance.

If what they already knew was true, they must have been able to recreate themselves or create something completely different. They believed that it must have been possible to recreate the conditions in which life could thrive or even create new conditions for the still un-created life forms simply to see if such exercise would bring any results.

The Planet of Apes, as we call it, is only one of the countless planets our forefathers visited, but not the only one on which the experiment was successful. And unlike everywhere else they went, this tiny planet of a minor solar system in a disc shaped distant galaxy, already had life.

Our genetic code was implanted into various species that lived on the planet. After first few reproductive cycles it was clear that the species lost the ability to metamorphose. Only the embryos retained that quality. But once the creatures were born they remained what they were - clumsy chunks of inflexible matter And their intelligence was minimal. No one would have ever survived on our planet with such an underdeveloped capabilities.

It took five cycles of time for the beings on this planet to finally grasp the fact that they were not alone in the universe! On other planets the species made of our unadulterated genetic code developed much faster and did not even need that much of our help. They began to create their own technologies and went on to explore the intergalactic space. 

But on this planet life seemed to malfunction. The lifespan was too short for them to evolve a functional organ of cognition. The genetic code was contaminated. The animal part apparently took over in every aspect of their existence. We tried to end our experiment here, but the species seemed to possess an impressive will to survive. This quality was not known to us. When time comes we simply know we have to move on.

You are a scientist who got stuck in an "unsolvable" problem, just like many of the more creative minds in the past. Every time this happened, we came to a rescue. A little push just to see what would happen if you solved the problem. 

The "discoveries" your species made distinguished you from all the other species on this planet. And although all of you carry our genetic code, you were the only ones who received help from us. The story of your civilization is written with our ink, but we gave you enough freedom to chose what you would do with the information you received from us. The choices you've made were quite appalling sometimes, but we did not come here to judge you. Sooner or later you will self-destruct.

When you wake up you will have all the knowledge to solve the problem you are working on, but you will forget about our encounter..."

As soon a I heard her last words the light disappeared and there was not a trace of the strange mutilation on my wrist. Did I dream it? I must be overworked or something!

***
I made some coffee and sat at the computer.

The project was almost dead. The Agency wanted to terminate it. Beginning next month there will be no more funding. And worse of all, my friends thought I was mad. The mad man with an Utopian vision! They laughed, but I knew that it was possible!

I took a sip of my java and looked at the blueprints. I checked my calculations. And there it was! The missing link. Faster than I could ever type, one equation sprang after another. So simple. Why didn't I think of it before?

By Dominique Allmon

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