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Judgment Day, Page 1

Fabio Campolim

  Judgment Day

  By Fábio E. R. Campolim

  Copyright 2012 Fábio E. R. Campolim

  Cover Image: Backwards Spiral Galaxy, NASA image ID# PIA04224 (Courtesy by NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team - STScI/AURA).

  At the Courthouse

  The Supreme Court of the Galactic Empire gathered in ordinary session to decide whether the human race, specifically the one born on planet Earth, should cease to exist. The imperial prosecutors where harsh, charges were deemed very serious. Human race was being accused of generalized crimes against life, destruction of the planet and its inhabitant species, and also of polluting the planetary neighborhood with unsolicited non-regulated electromagnetic radiation and high-speed random-flying primitive metal shards.

  And worst, recently human race has begun to spread to their moon and adjacent planets, and a few of their artifacts have actually crossed the borders of their solar system. The highest court of the Galactic Empire was the only one adequate to judge a race. Only that instance of the imperial power was fit to decide whether a race should be terminated. History has shown, by the worst possible ways, the necessity of such extreme measures. And the sentencing could mean instant annihilation of all mammals on Earth, giving chance to another class of beings to take on the planet.

  The court was composed by the highest representatives of the noblest races in the galaxy, some of them hundreds of thousands of years old, beings of immense wisdom and vast culture. And the task to decide on the lives of so many was not taken lightly. It was necessary to harvest the energy from dozens of suns in order to conjure the computing power required to assembly together the thousands of court members in the magnificent Virtual Imperial Courthouse near the galactic center.

  Decades have passed since the initial indictment and the process has come to the closing arguments, with no good perspectives for the human race. The imperial public defender attributed to the human race had just been transferred from his ordinary attributions in his birth stellar aggregate in order to replace an ancient defender that had just self-dissociated out of pure oldness. The courthouse has been pressing him to expedite his affairs, and the doomsday cases were pilling up in his backlog. The human race had just not attracted much of his attention as in his opinion there were many other cases of higher importance. The accusation proofs were abundant and the calculated expectation of spontaneous race improvement was negligible.

  Also, there were threatening chances of self-annihilation by nuclear warfare, which everyone acknowledges would postpone life evolution on Earth for a long period. Wasn’t it for such lenient defense and reckless prosecution, one could argue for a non-intrusive intervention by the Galactic Races Guardianship Council to coordinate the evolution of the human race, say, for a century or two, which would then demand the defender to point out the resources required for such an intervention, perhaps by asking for a donation to a stellar province interested in bolstering its political position. But that procedure would require a lot of work, especially in times of unprecedented galactic-scale economic crisis. Even in the highest galactic court, on the toughest issue, the trial needed to come to an end.

  The spirit of the Imperial Justices was not promising; some were scowling down with disappointment and irradiating repugnance. Others irradiated contempt or indifference. After the defense closing arguments, the condemnation atmosphere was pervasive. The Doomsday Agents began to plan on their annihilation strategies. Now, there was only one last step to go before sentencing, which was the own race's claim for mercy. According to the Galactic Great Charter of Liberties, to every race in an involuntary process of termination was guaranteed the final word before the terminative decision. The dinosaurs from the same planet Earth, after 135 million years of supposed evolution, could only growl incoherently when given such an opportunity.

  In that case, planetary life reengineering was fast and costless. It took only a small cosmic bump. But the resulting mammal evolution, with all the well known idiosyncrasies mammals present wherever they evolve, wasn't very promising to start with.

  So, in order to fulfill the due process of law, local agents began to sweep the Earth looking for representative individuals, kings and presidents, philosophers and entrepreneurs, military and diplomats, physicists and mathematicians, physicians and priests etc., and also for ordinary people with lots of intelligence, culture or love.

  Every one of them would speak for the human race from his or her point of view and their own personal beliefs whether the human race should be allowed to proceed could be crucial to the Justices’ decisions. But they wouldn't be 'abducted' as per their local slang. Rather, their quantum states would be copied directly to the center of the Great Hall of Hearings. Their existences would be perfectly cloned in such a way as to not interfere with their essential qualities. Only it would be given them basic knowledge that would allow them to know about the Judgment, but it was a very accurate procedure that would not alter their consciousness, beliefs or personalities. Each specimen would speak through his or her own mind, using whatever resources available on it, and according to his or her own determination to save the human race. In the ruling of that Supreme Court, Justices should evaluate depositions not only based on the raw statements of the law but also by analyzing the very self-determination of the species to continue existing.

  And the line came. First spoke the politicians, legislators, industry captains, man and women of great power. And many of them actually spoke against the human race. Not even the most elaborate arguments of the most prominent lawyers were able to cheer the Imperial Justices; they were radiating the gray of The Great Sadness.

  The boy looked the line go through the magnificent virtual hall. He was calm, as if he was filled with infinite quietness, but he was also very sad. He understood the judgment. He understood the arguments. In a whole way he had a deep knowledge of the process and the proofs and that did not seemed strange at all. And weirder yet, he knew annihilation would be practically painless. It would be clean. It was not that making him sad. He was sad because he did not understood why all the important man and women that were speaking did not believed in the human race. In the heart of his modest family he was brought up with loving care. Justice and the value of peace were taught to him, even if the world has not always treated them just.

  The line walked and the boy startled, it was almost finishing. And then came his turn. He was the last one! What could he possibly say in that magnificent place near the center of the galaxy surrounded by those brilliant beings of immense wisdom? What could he possibly speak up for the human race that has not been said by all those important people?

  He did not know.

  But hope shone bright in his heart when he brought to his mind that single plain image that very much impressed him and instantly that image was brought to shine up bright in the middle of the gigantic hall.

  The image showed a very old paraplegic lady, sitting in her wheelchair, only her silhouette visible, and her feeble and shivering hand holding a lit Olympic Torch in the front of a fabulous firework display shooting away from the center of a huge Olympic Stadium pervaded with joy and wonder.

  The woman was Margaret Maughan, the archer, first winner of the Paralympics Games in 1960, which the boy saw in his modest television set in the Paralympics Games opening in 2012.

  The image was capable of demonstrating at the very same time all fragility and strength of the human life. The Olympic Games were one of the human race's most sophisticated cultural events, and the Paralympics Games represented the fraternity of the race to share that glory with the disabled. There they could stand with great proud and honor for all humans to see and applaud.

  The debilitated old lady praised the ancient gods of sports in her vain insurgenc
e against the will of Destiny. She symbolized the unconditional and irrevocable fight of an imperfect and fragile life form, fugacious and at the same time fully conscious of that fugacity, doomed to perish and yet joyful.

  Tears ran down the boy’s face while he laughed. The passion with which he exhibited the image before the court demoted even the most frowning Imperial Justice.

  Confronted with that beautiful image, and in the face of that boy's attitude, the Justices radiated a serene blue light in unison, and the Agents of Doomsday deactivated their devices of massive death. A shock wave of peace traveled parsecs in the distance, and the history was told throughout the eons. The Justices saw there, in that beautiful frame of harmony between the young and the old, the whole and the broken, the strong and the weak, the pale blue dot of Earth dimly echoing the light of hope throughout the cosmic ocean.

  Perhaps the human entrepreneurship in the Cosmos was viable after all.

  The Supreme Court of the Galactic Empire then decided for the continuation of the human species, as it evolved on planet Earth, and provided for its appropriated supervision.

  And that boy deserved special attention. Graduate Agents would be assigned to look after him throughout his life. Who knows if, one day, that little boy would not become himself a noble and honored representative of the human race at the Galactic Empire?


  About the Author

  Fábio E. R. Campolim is currently a Ph.D. student in the Nanosciences and Advanced Materials graduate program at Universidade Federal do ABC, Santo André, Brazil. The author acknowledges José Ricardo G. de Mendonça for the long term mind-wrestling discussions on what life, science and everything else means, and also for reviewing this work.

  A Tribute

  This work is dedicated in memoriam to Carl Sagan, the brilliant, elegant, mindfully inspiring and truly unafraid science communicator and visionary (actually parsec-long communicator and eon-wide visionary) that has sprout the seeds of both rigorous science and joyful scientific speculation into the minds of many including myself, my wife, and of dozens of others scientists and educators friends of ours that now occupy important positions in labs, universities, institutes, schools and simple homes here and abroad. The word numinous is for us intrinsically related to science thanks to him.