Purify - Chapter13 Lyral Six
Lyral six was about to commit planecide for reasons that made perfect sense to its inhabitants. The reasons always made perfect sense except to an outsider. To an alien, observing their planet having just arrived in their star system, a planecide never ever made any sense at all.
Usually, the planets, by the very fact that intelligent (ha! That’s a joke; an unfunny joke.) life had evolved at all, meant that they were beautiful, often temperate places. Right up until the era of conscious, self-aware creatures, the biosphere of the planet had grown diverse and balanced. Nothing to excess. If, due to external evolutionary pressures, a new habitat became available then it would not be long before it would be colonised. Subsequently, should a dominant species of predator arrive or emerge, it would not eat all of the animals further down the food chain – to do so would be suicide. Instead, nature would be self limiting; if food became scarce the predators would die back and if they died back too far then food animals would become abundant. Such was the balance of nature. Until, that is, the arrival through evolution of a Dominant Intelligent Species onto the surface of the planet; the DIS.
They always upset the balance of nature, essentially raping the planet of its entire biosphere. Polluting as it grew in a population explosion and ultimately destroying everything through war.
Must all intelligent species wage war? It seems so. Various excuses are found when planet’s histories are examined. Religion is a popular one. Land and its resources a more honest one and political ideologies the most stupid one. From the time that the DIS first learns to pick up a stick and club another DIS to death that have always striven to develop more and more sophisticated weapons to assure that they get their way over the other DIS peoples. As soon as identifiably different races of DIS get to know of each other’s religions, resources or radical ideologies they seem to want to make those others more like themselves; by force if needed (and it usually is). Oh! They can always couch it in terms of protecting their way of life from the barbarians but whichever way you slice it; the end result is always the same. As time goes by and the weapons get bigger and stronger and, often, dirtier too. Until all sides finish up with enough firepower to destroy their world many times over.
At this point in the planet’s evolution it can go one of three ways. If it is lucky then it will persist in a state of nuclear stand-off for the remainder of its existence. If it is unlucky it will completely destroy itself in an all-out thermonuclear war. If it is very unlucky then it will half destroy itself and the remaining DIS will struggle on through nuclear winters in a devastated wasteland, barely surviving; eventually dieing. The best that such a planet could hope for would be a visit from a purify ship. These will de-contaminate the land and remove for all time the temptation to re-arm again by removing the radioactive remnants from the planet, forever.
Some races do this entirely altruistically; while others such as those from Earth did it for purely selfish reasons.
Why is there not a fourth option I hear you ask? One where the differing Races totally disarm themselves of all of these terrible weapons and get along peacefully. All that can be said is that it has never happened in the history of the universe – such was the way of the DIS.
The sixth planet in the Lyral system was about to perform a type two planecide. All out nuclear war that totally destroys the biosphere of the planet. The reasons were as pathetic as they were pointless. One race had developed all the technology right up to having developed the nuclear weapons. The intelligentsia of this technocratic race were uncomfortable with this and felt that they should share with the less fortunate backwards people on this planet. Thus the technology was shared (but not the weapons). The other peoples of this world quickly grew envious of everything that the technocrats had and wanted ever more from them – especially the weapons. They argued, successfully it seemed, that they were still being treated as second class people who were not to be trusted with the technology of destruction. It turns out that they weren’t because, not long after they won their argument and got the weapons, there were political upheavals in many of the smaller nations (as dictators-in-waiting saw their opportunity to emerge from the wings and sieze power). Shorter after that the first launches came.
Finally, the technocrats, realising their mistake, made a last desperate attempt to restore their way of life, launched a full scale attack on all the, in their eyes, lesser nations. But these, so-called, lesser nations had already realised that this was about to happen and simultaneously launched their arsenals in an M-A-D counter attack.
It was more than the planet could cope with. In the space of a month after the last bomb detonated, the entire surface of the planet had been churned with the mantle. Completely re-surfacing a planet destroys all life if done quickly enough and that was what happened/will happen to Lyral six.
But to make their point, the purple people decided to ‘save’ this planet and show the humans how time protection works. They broke their own primary directive in the presence of Captain Danno, Lisa, Carrie, Tibor and the three rebels, Ken, Ben and Den. As they watched from the Tony Robinson they saw the launch of the first set of missiles. The purple people did something and though the intercontinental ballistic missiles appeared to follow their normal arching trajectories landing back on the technocratic continent, they didn’t explode. There were no giant shock waves or plumes of smoke and dust that would have easily been visible if there had been nuclear detonations.
Of course, to the people of Lyral six it just seemed that the technocrats hadn’t trusted the others and had given them dud missiles.
As per the original timeline, the technocrats realised their mistake in trusting these lesser nations (though only they knew that they had supplied perfectly good missiles they didn’t worry that they had failed – they were grateful). They launched an all-out attack on these lesser nations as, clearly, they were right to have doubted their ability to stand on their world stage with any degree of decorum. The other lesser nations also launched their remaining missiles though they suspected they wouldn’t work, they still felt they needed to do something as they had correctly deduced the attack would come.
Once again the purple people intervened and de-activated all the missiles in flight. The people onboard the Tony Robinson once again saw the missiles on their arching trajectories to each other’s continents like swarms of silver fish in a tropical tank. Again the expected nuclear flashes and mushroom clouds were nowhere to be seen.
So far so good and at first everything seemed peaceful. A particularly spiteful or patronising planet’s peoples had been saved from total destruction. To have saved a life must feel good but to have saved six point three billion must feel great.
Then it began. A slight purple haze began to appear at the planet’s poles just like the aurora on Earth. Only this aurora was not content to stay at the planet’s poles and it began to spread over the whole planet’s surface. Gradually the haze began to coalesce into lightning bolts. Purple lightning ravaged the whole planet. Giant trails of purple plasma streamed outwards from the planet’s surface making it look like a plasma ball that you could buy on Earth as an artistic talking point room decoration in the late twentieth century.
Then, in the path of the planet’s orbit, barely discernable at first, you could just make out that the purple streamers were connecting and vanishing. They vanished into an enormous black void. The void’s edges could be seen now as a clear delineation between space filled with purple streamers and the specks of light that were the rest of the galaxy’s stars and the black bottomless void. It stopped growing when it was the size of the planet that it was about to swallow.
Like the first contact of a solar eclipse, the disc of the planet began to enter the void. Slowly the blackness crept over the surface of the planet. Until its great circle was swallowed and now all that could be seen was a shrinking purple disc. Suddenly all light from the planet was extinguished. The purpleness was gone.
Of course, in space no one can hear a planet scream but suddenly it seemed as though all sound had gone. It was more quiet than silent. By comparison to what it sounded like now, the hush that had earlier accompanied the death throws of Lyral six were a cacophony. For those few brief moments of unsound, nobody could hear either their own pulse in their ears of their breathing in their noses. Then, abruptly, normal silence returned. All the crew had felt it and not one of them wanted to be the first to speak and break the hush.
Lisa gasped first – they realised that they had all been holding their collective breath as though they were trying to summon the peaceful ultra silence to return. She had gasped because the planet was beginning to re-appear.
It was not purple this time nor the blue silver that it was before its purplely death. It was an angry red and black coal, an ember, a cinder of a planet.
This is how it would have been if the purple people had not intervened, all the bombs had detonated properly and the planetary re-surfacing had occurred.
The purple people spoke once again into the heads of the seven humans aboard the Tony Robinson. They explained that whet they had seen was what always happens if you tried to interfere with the timeline. Back-echoes of the aftermath of Lyral six’s destruction reverberated through space and time and refracted the mater of the planet into the state it would have had to have if the explosions of the nine hundred and twenty eight thousand nuclear weapons had detonated in this volume of space and time.
Those echoes didn’t care that their source had not occurred. They were loose in space and time and they needed a source. By razing the planet the balance was restored, the timeline healed and normality started happening again.
“That’s where the purpleness comes from!” shouted Danno much to the shock of his fellow shipmates.
“You’d better explain that, Danno,” said Tibor who was still shaking after being shook out of his awe of the blotchy redness of the planet Lyral six.
“Positrons are just like electrons travelling backwards in time. It is what they used to tell us in Slide-School. They would demonstrate this by firing a beam of positrons at some metallic hydrogen. It always gave off a purple glow but only the beam glowed purple and only after it had hit the hydrogen – never before – the light only came after it physically hit but from a time before it hit. That’s when the purple comes from!” Danno sat down and stared out of the window. His did not look like someone who had just solved a great puzzle – rather, he looked like someone who had just been asked to solve a rubiks cube that had not just been jumbled-up but had had half its stickers swopped round too.
When, at last, he spoke, as everyone around him had been waiting for him to do, he asked of the purple people, “How specific are these echoes by the time they take effect?”
The reply came into the heads of all of them at once. “By the time the echoes had reinforced each other and arrived back at the space-time source, they are quite de-coherent. It was really the magnitude of the anomaly that caused the planet wide destruction. The fact that the explosions of the weapons were seen across the galaxy meant that they could not simply be un-exploded. It was as if the universe noticed a discrepancy of that size.”
“So, smaller inconsistencies hardly register when they meet back up at their focal point,” said Danno, “I think I know how we can save Guger! But we have to get back there fast”.
Before we find out if they succede in saving Planet Guger let’s find out what has been happening back on Earth.