Shield of Ignorance

by
A Kniggendorf


Time

: 2000+/-


     The thunder grew louder and louder, an irritating hisss screamed through the cockpit of the little life-probe, when more and more atmosphere molecules hit its surface. The temperature was increasing, but not to dangerous levels. The planetary surface came nearer, making clearer its structures. I activated the brake-jets and pulled the impact-shields to maximum. Collision alert...

     Slowly, my environment became clearer. A great, somehow sticky trabant covered the land with pale yellow light. I remembered: I was in the planet's shadow, in the outermost edge in the contra-direction of the planetary rotation on its biggest continent in the northern hemisphere. I didn't know, how long I had been unconscious. I felt a warm slimy liquid on my chin, dropping down on my chest – blood. I tried to stop it by pressing one of the torn-off bolsters on the wound. During the time I sat there, I thought about what was known about this world in the externa-sphere of the galaxy: Catalogue-Number: 0-1743-3; Category: M-bios; Dominant Lifeform: Humanoids, type D (closely to mine, did I have a chance?); Civilization-Typus: j-t – that meant: quasi-intelligent, aggressive, emotional, and technically ambitioned, a yound species without primary contact (Oh Sharra – no chance to get a contact back to my own people!). The regulations about crash-downs on undeveloped planets cruised my mind – no technological evidences, no interference in development and culture, no contact to planetary lifeforms if possible – and you ought to survive it! Sometimes these regulations are more than only cynic... but they are clear: no technological evidences for our existence...

     I didn't try to get to know something about the atmosphere and the biological environment around my probe. If I couldn't live in it, it was over anyway... I deactivated the statis-field and stripped off the safety-belts, then I ran on the self-destruction-cyclus and opened the cockpit. If the atmosphere was poisonous, my body would be destroyed like the ship in the tindering – no noise, no light, only grey ash, that would be spread by the wind all over the planet... I got off the ship. No reaction, my lungs seemed to accept the planet's atmosphere, but it stank. Industrial polution, said my mind. I coughed, but I had to get away from the probe, stumbling I reached for one of the big plants around. I didn't rescue something out of the ship – regulations – no evidences for our existence! Behind me, the little life-probe, that saved my life and exposed me on this planet, collapsed loudless to a little clump of grey ash. I was coughing, but alive. I remembered an old device: If only one is alive, the mission isn't lost. But what, if this one himself is lost?

     I left the place in northern direction. Short before impact, I noticed lights there. I had to find out, what these creatures, their appearance and their behavior were like. If the similarity between this species and my own was great enough, I maybe could survive here without being myself an evidence for extra-planetary lifeforms. If not...

     More than a dozen planetary cycles have come and gone since this happened. I retained a small scar under my chin and some reminiscences from the crash-down, but nothing more serious. I'm alive, the mission is still unlost for me, but for the others... I never returned to the place where I landed. I gave up hope to be found here long time ago and now I'm sitting here, on a little desk, working with one of the primitive instruments, they call computers. I've learned a lot about the planet and its species in all the time that's gone. I know, the environment's pollution is increasing. I feel it. It's harder to breathe and not to cough. I yearn for our medicine facilities and for the clean atmosphere of the world where I was born. But both is hundreds of sec'ts away. I don't know, how long I can resist this pollution here and now I write down, what I know about all what has happened. Irrelevant, if regulations say not to do so. I'm alone! Sometimes I tried to get closer contact to some of the creatures living here in this city, but there's everytime the danger to be recognized as an extra-planetarian. They are very aggressive towards strangers even strangers of their own species. Their news are full of war and battle that take place all over the planet, because they appearing strange to each other, and I'm more a stranger than anyone else on this planet is. I don't want to know, what they will do to me, if they discover my real identity. I'm frightened, but I'm alive. I understand, what happens here and it is cruel to know about it and to be unable to change it. I'm seeing the self-destruction of a species. Increasing industrial pollution, growth of criminal activities and battles, the unorganized collapses of political systems; the list of indicators for such a development is much longer. I was Coordinator and it was my job to recognize and to prevent such developments whereever they were, but I can't help here. I'm trapped like it's creatures on this dusty dirty planet under a yellow sun, the light of which is hurting my eyes. I wish to be at home, in the soft smaragden shine of Ay'a, the star, that initialized the evolution of my species. But I'm here and I'm starting to envy these creatures for their shield of ignorance...

...for mankind's shield of ignorance.


Fanfic

Bureau of Extra-Terrestrial Affairs