Thursday, May 20, 2010

No Fault

This is another story in the Skipping Stones universe containing the first person testimony of a Blorb named Blasphornomiconiumoocus at his trial for the genocide of Planet Caractus's entire population. In his defence, it really was an accident.

The Blorb are a race of huge, tentacled, slug creatures who eat rotting meat and are bent on galactic domination. To make things worse they are powerful psychics with the ability to bend other races to their will. They stink, leave a trail of slime where ever they go, and treat all other races as lackeys who exist for the sole purpose of serving the Blorb Syndicates. There is absolutely nothing to like about a Blorb. This, of course, increases the enjoyment of writing dialogue for them.

This story, while small, is pivotal to the overall Skipping Stones arc, but it didn't fit within the other writings. The anti-hero is tangentially responsible for saving the galaxy from domination by a time shifting race of crystalline robots. Blasphornomiconiumoocus would hate to be known as the saviour of the galaxy, but that's how history documents his otherwise dreadful life.

Begin testimony playback of Blasphornomiconiumoocus, nicknamed Blasphor by Alliance Security.
Could you dim the lights a bit please. My homeworld is considerably darker than yours. And the humidity is too low for my comfort. What? Yes, I'll begin now, but could someone do something about the environmental controls? Thank you.

It was a simple plan. One that went quite well until the planet imploded. Don't look at me that way. They died quickly while I suffer; impoverished in a Human prison and disowned by my syndicate.
Have I mentioned how uncivilized your judicial system is? On my home world of Cistern, I'd be scanned, found innocent of any attempt to cause harm then released. At worst, I'd face a sizable fine for damage to uninsured property.

It's not like it was a heavily populated planet anyway.

Of course your backwater judicial system is a direct result of your relative telepathic deafness. You don't trust the few telepaths you possess so why develop laws using them in proceedings such as this.
What do you mean you want me to continue without editorializing? This is my defense, and I'll editorialize as I please,

I'm asking you to take a broader view than normal for your species. I accept the fact that a few hundred thousand humans died. I further accept that my actions are directly tied to those deaths. You simply cannot blame me for the planet being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I understand your protests I just don't see what all the fuss is about. I suppose no one in Earth's history ever accidentally killed a few hundred thousand people? Kitar Moonbreaker killed millions on Verlia and is considered the parent of modern space travel. How am I any different? No doubt the Alliance will find great use for the artifact. They certainly interrogated me over my research thoroughly enough.

No, I am not rambling or wasting time. I am providing a historical perspective to the events that brought me here.

Very well, I'll try to be more succinct, but only if you discontinue your visual feed. I know your judicial system allows me to face my accusers, but my race finds your race visually revolting. You have too few sensory organs and not a tentacle in sight. No offense intended of course. Thank you.

Now, back to perspective; evolving from early invertebrates, Blorb civilization is eons older than any of the mammalian races. Even the Verlians are evolutionary toddlers compared to us. Our society is ruled by law not emotions,

Of course, following our law landed me in this predicament. I entered the contract and in the Riss/Blorb Commonwealth a contract made is a contract fulfilled,

The agreement with Cassandra Clay stated I was to secret the human to the Caractus Colony on or about the 12th day of Seseroo cycle. Before agreeing to provide passage I researched Mr. Cassandra,
What? I apologize. I find racial gender titles confusing,

As I was saying, Ms. Clay wished a stealthy approach to Caractus, avoiding the space station and landing in a small township. My research uncovered no criminal record nor any reward associated with her capture. I understand smuggling something from the archaeological treasure trove of Caractus is illegal, but not smuggling anything to Caractus.

I was lulled into the notion it was simply passage of someone wishing to avoid romantic or familial involvement. Your human drives and emotions are barely above those of the pack-centric carnivores that once roamed your world, and I'm given to understand such events are common among your species. The Blorb are hermaphrodites who give their offspring to the Syndicates to raise. Your family bonds are a source of humor to us. Thus I suspected no trouble on the trip,

I know better now. The mission was simply a test. I arrived without incident avoiding patrols and customs inspections. The human paid the final half of its passage, and I flung my sensory orbs about for a short haul mission back to Commonwealth space.

My vessel, now cruelly impounded, is a fast ship with decent cargo holds for items the Alliance considers legitimate with 'special' holds for such cargo. There is almost always someone looking for 'special' cargo. I've made better profit than most over the years servicing such clientèle,

Caractus is, excuse me, was a backwater planet. I discovered no one looking for passage and readied my ship for departure. I'd made enough off the human to cover two-way expenses, so I wasn't overly upset. It therefore came as a surprise when the same human approached me with an artifact to export off the colony world.

How I would love to get my grasping tentacles around that ape just long enough to constrict the life from it. With joy I would watch the miscreant rot and cure until insect larva crawled from its decaying ocular sockets. I can almost taste the human now,

Have I mentioned how atrocious the food is here? I can barely digest it. Yes, yes, I'll continue. No I can't control the acid generated from my skin. Much like your saliva glands it is an automated response.
I wish to state, for the record, as a citizen of the Riss/Blorb Commonwealth, I do not recognize the Alliance laws banning exports of Forerunner artifacts from Caractus. The Alliance unfairly holds those bits of technology from the rest of known space. I was simply trying to rectify an unfair disparity. Who knew or could know the device was capable of destruction on that scale?

We had an imperfect understanding of its function, you see. The human suspected it could generate an intense gravity field. They just weren't sure how to operate it. Unluckily for me, the Riss/Blorb Commonwealth has a more extensive understanding of Forerunner technology. Accessing the Blorb subnet, we were able to guess at its operational parameters,

The device generated not one, but two gravity fields. One is strong enough to form a singularity of significant size. The second field is much weaker. It was then I determined this device formed what humans once called worm holes. Of course you now call them spider holes since allying with the Crystal Spiders. That race holds the sole ability to create these temporary subspace tunnels between gravimetric singularities. Imagine a device that can do that anywhere without the need to navigate the hazards associated with black holes,

Of course my price rose once I discovered the artifact's use. Unfortunately, the human agreed. If not, I would have stolen the device free of any contractual bindings,

I even offered a discount if we traveled to Commonwealth space, but the human wanted to travel to Siochain station. Apparently, it already had buyers waiting -- buyers who wouldn't take no for an answer.
The tragedy that befell your colony would have been averted had the human agreed to my original terms. I wouldn't have had to tip off the Alliance authorities had it just seen the common sense of taking the artifact into the Commonwealth.

I remember well the shock expressed by the human as an Alliance cruiser attempted to intercept us as we left Caractus' orbit. Local law enforcement discovered the theft of the artifact and our planned departure time. The trick to leaking information is to give only enough to lead the authorities where you want them to go while making them believe it is their hard work or luck that leads them.

Once the cruiser appeared, I convinced the human to escape to Commonwealth space. I explained we could use the artifact to disable the cruiser allowing us to escape. I would study the device in route and notify my syndicate of our approach. The human would be 'persuaded' to give over the device,
I simply miss-entered the range. There was no malice involved.

We activated the artifact and pointed it toward the approaching Alliance ship hoping to generate a g-field strong enough to crush the ship's drive section. When nothing happened we increased the power level. It was then we heard the communication signals from Caractus as a small singularity formed within the planet's crust. As I said, my understanding of the controls was imperfect. I simply got the range wrong so technically I'm innocent of any crime.

I remember the human screams requesting rescue. There's nothing quite like a human scream. Not the growl of a Kurr or Verlian, nor the clicks and whistles of a Kizzick. They can't even manage the civilized hiss of the Riss or Blorb. It is quite high pitched, loud and irritating,

I was glad when it stopped.

From the command pit of my ship I watched stunned as the singularity sucked the planet's mass into a miniature black hole. It was over in minutes. The planet collapsed in upon itself leaving a singularity of the planet's mass orbiting the system's star. I understand that the Caractus space station survived the X- and gamma-ray blasts and still orbits the gravity well as if nothing happened.

You would think the Alliance would be grateful. I have delivered them a device which generates spider holes where ever they choose. My Syndicate would have elevated me to commissioner at the very least, but what do the ungrateful humans do? They imprison me as a common criminal. Technically there is no crime as there was no intent to do harm. Technically there is no fault because there is no crime. I therefore ask for a verdict of not guilty.

Thank you.

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