Hello Internet! Welcome back a repeat
offender I mean visitor Andrea Speed for Flash Fiction Friday. Today, Andy presents her thoughtful sci-fi piece Judgment. What does it truly mean to be judged? And what are the consequences?
by Andrea Speed
A man in a business suit, briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, stood on a quiet beach watching the sunrise. There was no way he could deny this was a beautiful planet at times. It was a real shame about the people.
He’d been sent here five years ago, Earth standard time, to evaluate the planet for the Universal Council. Earthlings were nowhere near interstellar space travel, but they’d sent out enough satellites and radio signals to make sure they’d be noticed. Considering how primitive they were, he wasn’t expecting much. He specialized in evaluating species who were a century or two behind joining them in the stars. But even he was shocked.
To say this species was not ready was an understatement. They were still fighting themselves, violently and vociferously. Every species had a dark patch, a time when they were scared and primitive and did horrible things, but humanity took the cake, to borrow an Earther expression. Their dark patch was still going, only in a slightly different permutation.
Five years by Earthling estimation was probably short, but it was an amount of time judged to be the best. You had to know about a civilizations aptitude by then, and could extrapolate their future with some accuracy. And never, in all his time with the Council, had there been an extrapolation so bleak. It was more than likely this species would destroy itself before reaching the stars, and even if it somehow survived that and made it to true outer space, they’d be a warlike, voracious species. There was no good end for them.
The briefcase, chained to his wrist, held samples of DNA from all the races of the Human species on Earth, cataloged meticulously, the clear result of his five years here. He was waiting for extraction, but he was also waiting for the end.
In all his years of existence, he’d never been around when a “category seven” was implemented. Not that there’d be anything to see, because there wouldn’t be. But he would know, and he’d be the only one on this planet who knew.
They used artificial prions coded to specific DNA sequences, and seeded both the clouds and the oceans with it. The estimated extinction of the human race would take ninety two of their hours, tops. By the time any of them figured out a prion was causing people to drop dead, they’d be unable to do anything about it. They hadn’t even worked up defenses against harmful prions native to their ecosystem yet.
It would only harm humans. Even primates, who shared much of the same DNA, would not be affected. And since it was artificial, they could hit the self-destruct on it as soon as the last human was dead. It would leave a clean planet for the flora and fauna, and the Council could then decide what, if anything, they were going to do with it.
He was the keeper of the human race now. If it was decided to try again with the species, the DNA samples could be used to recreate them somewhere else, or even here, again, once their environmental damage healed over. But at a certain point, you had to stop doing things that never worked the way they should.
So the man in the business suit with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist stood looking out at the ocean, waiting for the world to end.