In an era of global threats, no resource should be ignored.
An overheard breakfast-time conversation accidentally invested his daydreams with an interstellar entity he had not previously encountered, when he became vaguely aware that he had heard the same name mentioned several times: the Starbat Martyr. At an age when he and his friends were more preoccupied with acquiring the superpowers possessed by the heroes of film and comic strip, his parents' love of classical music had not discernibly begun to rub off. Not that he lacked serious concerns; fast-melting glaciers, the sorry plight of bees, all those senseless wars… His gloomy Scottish uncle had once told him "We're going to Hull in a handbasket, laddie." It didn't make much sense in terms of geography or transport, but he couldn't help agreeing with the sentiment.
Although he was content to allow most adult discourse to drift over his head, sometimes the odd word or phrase would trigger his attention. Once he heard them talking animatedly about The Emperor, but lost interest when it turned out to have nothing to do with either Star Wars or penguins. The Starbat Martyr swam into his inner vision, a vast ancient creature, older than the galaxy, probably the last of its kind, harnessing dark energy to glide effortlessly between star systems, its true purpose long forgotten, but drawn to seeking out and rescuing civilizations threatened by events beyond their control. Like… Well, like rogue asteroids, and massive solar flares. There was always the chance of an escaped nanovirus, of course. And (he supposed) the usual cranky billionaire megalomaniacs in their hidden fortresses plotting world domination. But nothing the old Starbat couldn't handle.
It would have to be telepathic, able to contact a few receptive minds, maybe while they were asleep. He imagined being among those favoured few. On waking, they would share the relevant portion of the Starbat's immense store of knowledge and perceptions concerning the danger to their planet. Then they would join forces and act swiftly in time to help save the world. Exactly how would depend on the kind of threat - details were not important at this stage of his musing, but he reckoned that it would be easy enough to alert NASA, the CIA, MI5, MIT, the Max Planck Institute, or whoever else needed to be informed. The Starbat's contactees would encounter disbelief at first, but the sheer quantity and clarity of their information would be bound to convince the sceptics. Then people would have to cooperate unselfishly for the first time - governments, scientists, engineers…. Plans would need be formulated, and perhaps new technologies developed. Eventually the danger would be averted, and he and his fellow 'receptives' would attend ceremonies where they would be given special awards, and (he ignored for the moment the possiblility that 'receptives' might be of mixed gender) they would more than likely be pursued by hundreds of gorgeous girls… His daydream drifted into more familiar adolescent territory.
At the periphery of its perceptual field, a faint persistent clamour signified a sentient world. It probed gently, its elegant cortical network of quasi-organic crystalline lattices coruscating with a flux of radiant energy, generating propulsive waves along its outstretched membranes. Duty called. Light-years away, the minds of a handful of dreaming humans echoed a weary sigh of seemingly cosmic proportions.
© L. J. Sklaroff 2013 All Rights Reserved
Date and time of last update 16:52 Thu 07 Mar 2013
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