Another discussion with the Princess
By definition, a voyage of exploration was about finding new lands and people. Of course, it would be naive to think that all people would be peaceful but one could generally assume they would make some effort to make a gesture of goodwill, to begin with.
Either we had got off to bad start by starting out on the galactic version of the wrong side of the tracks or everyone in this galaxy was hostile.
Or perhaps I was making the wrong assumption but as number one said, why send three ships when one would suffice?
I decided another short visit to the Princess might clear up a few misconceptions before they became glaring errors in judgement.
She didn’t smile when she saw me.
“Let me guess, they sent a welcoming committee.”
She’d known. And it looked like if I wanted the right answers I’d have to ask the right questions
“I take it your escape was too easy?”
“I’m surprised you didn’t realise that yourself.”
“I didn’t want to believe it, but that’s just the optimist in me. Does this mean the people where we left are working with the people we’re going to, and are both conspiring against us?”
“Or perhaps it’s not the world, but just the one. He knew my history, he’d know who was in power, and if I was to make an educated guess, he is likely a spy for them. This galaxy has a history of wars, spies, and uneasy peace. You have to pick your friends wisely.”
I’d participated in a war or two on land, not in space, and a few serious disputes over landing rights in space, but this was a whole new enterprise.
“We’re here to make friends with everyone, being the new kids on the block.” When I saw her bewildered look, I added, ” an earth expression. We try to make friends with everyone irrespective of who they are, where they come from, and what they’ve done.”
“I wish you well, but it’s doomed to failure. You will have to pick a side.”
I shook my head. “That’s the old way of thinking back home. I’m not bringing that with us. This is why we’re here now, mending other people’s bridges; sorry another earth expression.”
“I think I would like living on your planet now; are all the people like you?”
“Sadly no. Unfortunately, we suffer from the problems you are all too familiar with, and even though there are enough sensible people in our world who are striving to be better, progress is slow. Watching your planet slowly self-destruct because of greed and ignorance has helped. It took a long time for everyone to realise we all had to live together whether we liked it or not, and that it was in everyone’s best interest to work together.”
“Everyone except the other ship’s captain. He had a very different view of your world, one where some people are being marginalised simply because they didn’t want to join the collective.”
“It’s not that they didn’t want to join, it was because they didn’t want to share technology or resources without a cost. We don’t like people who want to profit at the expense of others, that in itself if allowed to happen would create disproportionate wealth and inevitably power in a single entity. We’ve been there, done that, and that’s why our world is dying. I’m sure the first thing the other captain asked for was technology so they could take it back and sell it.”
“Isn’t that what you would also do?”
“No. I was put here by a unified people who want what we find to be used for the benefit of everyone. Even those who would not reciprocate if the roles were reversed.”
“Noble indeed, but most here would say misguided. We have tried in the past to do just that, so I can tell you it will be a hard path.”
“Be that as it may it doesn’t solve our current situation.
“Then perhaps I can give you a solution, but not quite the one you’re looking for. Maybe I could become the first alien crew member on your ship. As a member of the crew, and not leaving the ship, particularly in these parts of the galaxy, I would not be a threat to one side or used as an example by the other. I’m sure you could find something for me to do. It would be, using one of your analogies, a win-win situation?
© Charles Heath 2021-2022