Jus ad Bellum
By Paul Evans
In the early nineteen hundreds, Norwegian whalers introduced reindeer to the remote island of South Georgia as a food source. Numbers rose to the detriment of the indigenous plant and bird life. A cull was instigated in January 2013.
The Travellers – an approximate interpretation
“… and you’re certain that this information is accurate?”
“We committed over three million collection assets.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“There’s no doubt that, since the last harvest, there is now a civilisation at the mission location.”
“Wake the command team.”
“Tell them to muster in virtual suite one in an hour.”
Pre-school: the semi-anarchic personality forge. Alliances perpetually formed and shattered. Alphas flexed influence among their peers, as self esteem abandoned the weak and irregular. Social limits were tested within colourfully adorned walls.
A ragged line of toy cars bore testament to the concentration of a boy. His small, clumsy hands manipulated the wheeled metal shapes to a private blueprint.
Another child took one of the cars so he hit her in the face.
A civil servant rode his bike to work. A lycra-clad athlete of the highway, his legs pumped the pedals as pistons propelled a train. Sweat erupted from pores beneath his aerodynamically designed cycle helmet. He would shower, deodorise and moisturise at work. He felt good. Good enough to forget the deep loneliness of extended bachelorhood.
His pointed rat face contorted with focussed exertion as he overtook yet another cyclist. The Sustrans funded path lacked the width for him to pass overtaking bikes. Other cyclists were too slow. Too inferior and weak. He lacked the patience to plod at their tempo. Consequently, on a twice-daily basis he travelled to and from work on the dual carriageway.
Behind him, considerate road users decelerated to pass the cyclist safely. In doing so, two lanes of traffic were effectively reduced to one. Over three hundred cars negotiated the dawdling human-engine until he opted to exit.
On approaching red traffic lights he elected to join the pedestrians, mounting the pavement next to an indicating bus in his ongoing pursuit of a new personal best.
The detainee had exploded a bomb in a bus full of soldiers. It had collaterally killed and maimed MOD personnel travelling to work, and shattered the windows of the adjacent crèche. Emerging from hiding, he was filmed executing the arriving emergency services before surrendering to armed police. He did so avenging those who had died due to ‘western inactivity in Syria’.
Allow your natural prejudice to stereotype demographic dear Reader; for I am lazy and cowed.
WPC Lisa Irons remained in the interview room as her colleague abruptly vacated due to wavering self discipline. The detainee flashed a menacing smile and iterated “You are all weak. If I had you bound as I am I would be merciless.”
Like all service men and women, Irons’ job was to approach danger as most fled. However, rules on interaction without a third party were explicit, despite mandated surveillance equipment to assure good conduct.
She spoke regardless.
“Don’t. Don’t preach your doctrinal fantasy to me. Don’t suppress the influence of your women at home – the one thing that would stop you acting like bickering children – and tell me that your lack of societal progress is my problem. Do you know how much humanitarian aid is conducted by my country and its armed forces? You see what you want to see; you’re the only criminal here and the reason you’re still alive is the true measure of how much stronger we are than you … because I’ve wanted to strangle you every second I’ve been standing in this room.”
“Help!” called the detainee “I’m being threatened!”
The Travellers Revisited – an approximate interpretation
Onboard the Fleet Auxiliary Gigaship Durable cord, virtual suite one digitally represented the Home Web. Planet-wide multi-layer threads formed a canopy beneath ringed moons. A dominant orange sun cast a deceptively warm glow.
Heads of department avatars clung to and hung from their favoured positions; the original copies were either immersed in protective g-pods, in partially revived hibernation off watch, or at their duty station throughout the vast ship.
“The target larderworld exhibits unquestionable signs of indigenous civilisation. Over eight thousand low tech artificial satellites allude to recent off-planet activity – no neighbouring planetary colonisation – but the sheer number and role duplication is indicative of a lack of cooperative effort. Civ profiling predicts a tribally volatile population. Dominant species bipedal mammals.”
“Yes sir, but … insignificant. No hands.”
A chattering amongst the collective was silenced by a raised leg.
“Information bled from the sat network reveals an immature global economy causing a significant health delta. Sex appears to be recreational, with generally monogamous family scale welfare.”
“But food nonetheless!?” queried the first tour military support officer hopefully.
“Legal say otherwise.”
“Can’t we at least dive in at mid-atmosphere and suck a few billion cubes of water?”
An authoritative web-twang delivered the response.
“Thank you Keith. I’ll present the Captain our recommendation.”
Bound by the universal ethics mandate, the Durable cord manoeuvred a slingshot orbit around the yellow sun and accelerated back into deep space. The distant war fleet would have to remain on recycled rations. As a safeguard against enemy exploitation, an inert proximity-fused black hole was transmitted into the centre of the world’s single moon.