(In) Vulnerable World
By David K Scholes
“These people had a dream,” I said as our shuttle detached from the mother ship “a very noble one.” Every one on board either nodded silently or quietly voiced their agreement
It was a short descent to the world below where we initially overflew our destination.
“That’s where they used to make the mark 7 indestructible residential dwellings,” Jason pointed to a totally flattened building below.
“And just over there,” piped up Andrea “was the main production line for their impenetrable armoured fighting vehicles.”
And so it went on, Jason, Andrea and others who had been here before pointing to various factory buildings within the vast industrial complex below. Factories that had once built the untouchable this, the unassailable that, the invincible something else.
All the factories shared one thing in common. They had all built supposedly near indestructible products and yet they had all been totally destroyed.
Vast though it was the sprawling industrial complex below was only one of a number of such complexes in this particular conurbation (technically faccomplex 9 of Conurbation 3) and there were other such conurbations on this world. Rumour had it the conurbations had once, almost quaintly, been called “cities” before they became too large.
“We’ve seen enough.” I called a halt to our over flight. “Let’s take her down near that very large building.”
“Where they used to build the everlasting, unyielding space shuttles,” responded Jason, “where, in fact, this shuttle was probably built. How appropriate.”
On the ground the destruction seemed even more total than it did from the air.
“I’ll call down the salvage teams,” said Andrea “assuming of course there is anything at all here left to salvage.”
“Not just yet Andrea,” I requested “let’s just take a look around first.”
“Such a contradiction in terms,” offered Jason. “These people built the most indestructible things in the galaxy and yet their own civilization itself was completely destroyed.”
“In a Universe full of destruction they wanted to build things that couldn’t be destroyed,” I said quietly. “To offer genuine solid protection not just to the high worlds but to everybody. In fact to make conflict genuinely less likely."
“What went so wrong?” inquired Andrea.
“The demand for their works was so great, that they didn’t take the time to build their own indestructible buildings, infrastructure, vehicles and other things,” I replied “they were too busy trying to provide that protection for others. Of course any one embarking on that course was bound to develop an awful lot of enemies.”
“All those who manufacture weapons of war,” offered Jason, in some ways stating the obvious.
“Yes,” I responded solemnly “the multi-star system weapons corporations, among others, couldn’t abide it. It had the potential to drastically limit their activities, even put them out of business entirely."
"This building may be destroyed,” said Andrea as we shifted through the rubble, “yet these partially completed shuttles seem fine.”
“Looks like they lived up to their name.” I laughed, having quietly expected this development. “These people did make things to last.”
“I guess the salvage teams are going to be quite busy after all,” chuckled Andrea.
- - -
The author has written six collections of sci-fi short stories and two sci-fi novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to both the Antipodean SF and the Beam Me Up Pod cast sci-fi sites and has also been published on a variety of other sci-fi sites. He is working on a new anthology of short sci-fi stories and also a “Human Hunter” series for the Beam Me Up Pod Cast site.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
(In) Vulnerable World
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