Stories short story: Model X29 by j.a. pringles

It was the third annniversary of the Model X experiment. Our task of observing X29 continued on, with little fanfare to that day.  The local Model time was set at a ratio of 10K to 1;  for every 1 day that passed here on our macro planet, 10,000 days passed on the micro model.

The Model itself was not so impressive, barely more than a one meter diameter sphere, held in place by the magnetic axis at the north and south tips.  The artificial Sol System humming beautifully in its self contained quarters in the Scientel Quadrant.  The Model was virtually identical in shape to our planet; covered mostly with an artificial water like our saltine oceans, yet not nearly as dense in nature.

We could observe at any angle, any distance to the planet from observation terminals.  They allowed us a full complement of our sensory allertness, up to seven senses at once if so desired.

I remember the tap on my shoulder that day, as I looked up from my observation terminal.

"Hey Raj," he said "How are we looking today?"

"Hey Callex. Pretty much the same.  I think we are heading towards plate shifting soon.  Some chance of continental drift maybe in sections 8 and 12."

"Hmmm...we may lose some pops then..." he said, referring to the heavily populated areas in section 8 in the Model.  It had been six months(macro) that intelligent life has taken form on X29, making it the first of the Model X projects to show the potential.  The life forms started much like on our planet, evolving from single celled micro organisms; protozoa into complex carbonites, then into various offshooots.  After the initial stages of life had taken root, local time was slowed from 100K to 1 down to the current 10K to 1.  We wanted to observe how life would evolve; a decision that would lead to the end.

"Is there anything that can be done?  Perhaps a time stoppage like on X13 to initiate repairs?"

"Afraid not.  13 never recovered from the stoppage, and we were never able to reinitiate the local gravity to the exact specs again.  We can't take that chance again, not since we've come so far."

I remember the dour expression on his face, though he strained to disguise it.  Callex was our biological and evolution expert; nearly the opposite study of my intra spacial gravity focus.  He would not admit it then, but I knew he had grown fond of the creatures; even though they had greatly diverged from our own evolutionary path.

"Any new theories on the evolutionary dominance of the mammals?," I asked; an obvious attempt on my part to change the subject.

"Well, a few theories..." he said, after a brief pause.  "We know that the lesser gravity allows for near bi-pedal equality in stance, and gives the advantage of manual manipulation of tools and weapons.  Yet we do not know why the reptillians have been subjugated to a lesser role on the model.  It is quite an odd circumstance to see the reversal."

It's strange the details that you remember of certain days.  I remembered the look of consternation upon his visage; his blue/yellow core changing slightly in tonal density.  Clearly the conversation had disturbed him.

"What's wrong, Callex?  What aren't you telling me?" I asked, in whispered tones.  "Please tell me..."

"Raj...they are concerned about the way evolution is going on X29.  If the elder politicos find out about the potential mammal dominance, well, let's just say that our work may be deemed blasphemous."

"Blasphemy?  Who believes in that religious nonsense anyway?"

"There are some, Raj, that still fear the dark, and believe in old myths." he says, looking around the room. " And some of THOSE men are in power, so watch your tongue and keep it down."

A sudden shiver of fear entered my body, and I clenched my fists tightly.  It was only a few decades before that many evolutionary scientists had disappeared, only to be replaced by innuendo and rumor.  Chief among the missing was Ev Eta Itan; founder of the theory of mammal equality, and of the advantages of warm blooded tendencies.   No one knew for sure what happened to Itan, only that he was never heard from again.

"You know I studied Itan's theories.  I believe in many of them, and found some of them to be foolish."  Callex was whispering now, but in the harsh whispers normally saved for conspiracy and gossiping wives.  "However, even I am astonished to see some of his postulations coming to form, right before our eyes. Mammals are not only proving equals on X29, but they are proving to be dominant."

"Ok, so what?  It's only a model.  We can introduce thousands of variables on a thousand models, each with different results...this is only one of a billion possibilities..."

"Nevertheless Raj, the whispers of the cancellation of the X29 project may become louder...they WILL become louder.  We may have to do something to save X29"

"I don't understand," I said "Why do you care so much about them Cal?  They can barely speak...they can hardly make a fire..."

"It's not them Raj, it's us.  Itan's notes, he predicted that our race, the reptillians...we are only great at one thing, and that is hatred towards one another.  He foresaw war and death for us all.  And I know now that he is right. We cannot save this planet Raj, we cannot even save ourselves...but we have to save our planet!"

***

That was nearly ten years ago, and now I am alone.  My home planet, Ekren has been ravaged by battle, and the war plagues have destroyed the biosphere.  The planet will not recover. Our station in space was one of the last places to be attacked, but even we were not immune to the weaknesses of our forefathers.

Yet I was able to escape.  Callex and I, along with others who foresaw the inevitable, had devised our plan of freedom. Freedom not for ourselves, but for a future of hope and a people wholly different from our reptillian ancestors. Ironically, it is I who was chosen to carry the mission.  Intra spacial gravity would be key to the survival of X29, and only one could board the ship safely.

My ship will soon be out of fuel;  life for me will be coming to an end.  Ten years of searching and travelling, carrying a cargo of one reptillian scientist, and one miniscule solar system.  I have reached my destination; a galaxy millions of light years from our home planet, with a swirl of stars and planets, beautifully synchronized into harmonious gravitational and plural attractions.  While Callex saw beauty in the lives of mortal beings, I knew the beauty in perfectly symmetrical and rhythmic bodies, celestial gods in millennial dance.  This is the final resting place where our legacy will survive.

I make the final preparations for my fate and the destiny of X29.  My calculations are pure; the new system will lie perfectly in tune with this solar system; yet too far to have adverse effects from gravitation dominance.

I open the ships hull, and the container begins its flotation, and I look upon it for the last time.  In one hour, my ship and I will disintegrate.  I peer into the observation terminal, watching from within the micro planet as it emerges from its Ice Age, even as my physical form hurtles away.  I see the mammals that Callex so loved, and Itan before him..now the ultimate beings who will determine the planets fate.  I scan and see remnants of my parallel brethren; relegated to swamp land roaming and scurrying on rock.

In minutes, the ship will disintegrate into composite atoms, light years away from X29.  In my last minutes I think of my friends at home, and wonder of our sacrifice.   In moments, the container surrounding the atmosphere of X29 will dissolve into hydrogen, then be dissolved harmlessly by the vaccuum of space...then pulled directly into Sol for consumption.  X29 will truly be part of the solar system, newest members of a universe too indifferent to notice. Time now flowing naturally, no longer artificially manipulated.

I have only moments left before disintegration, before joining the micro system as part of space; brothers in the emptinesss. And as the calm of inevitability overcomes me, my final thoughts go back to the third planet, our planet...X29.  Alone now, with no one to guide them.  And I think of their future, millions of years later, knowing that if our savage race could survive, they too can thrive and evolve.

I think that perhaps they, too, will create a life and planet of their own, born of science...that they will come to love even greater than their own planet.  And perhaps they too will release it one day, hoping for a superior future, greater than their own planet, which we had created for them.

And I think of our own planet, Ekren...perhaps we too were once nothing more than an experiment, one among many before us.  Who were the beings who created us and left us to our fate?

I close my eyes, and welcome the darkness as it embraces me.

Fin