I’m hardened by the fact that civilizations die not from without but from within. They drive themselves to death, whether through civil war, economic disaster, environmental damage, or irresponsible morality.
I’m part of a team that cleans up the remains of dead civilizations.
We landed on a planet our charts identified as X55-R3. Our first-drop recon team examined the writings of X55-R3’s long-dead technological alien race and discovered its now extinct inhabitants called the planet Earth.
Brecht-5 and I we were in our heavy, awkward environmental suits.
‘Will you look at that,’ Brecth-5 said.
We stood in reverent awe before a large structure.
‘By the Ancient Blurms of Nu’rff,’ I said, ‘a television broadcast station.’
Legend told of how The Great Blurm conjured from the heavens a device called television. This television was powered by the cathode ray tube. Television displayed phantasmagorical sights and sounds from beyond our mortal realm.
Television was a powerful gift from the Blurm, it was not a toy. Tragically, many stage 9 civilizations treated television like a toy, no different than how a young G’mmeduil treated an Am’hatt or G’loorp. Those stage 9 civilizations never made it to stage 10.
I placed my gloved hand against the metal door of the broadcast station. I felt like I was touching the Great Blurm.
‘Shame we’ll have to destroy it,’ I said.
Destroy the idea of television. Our species took it upon ourselves to prevent lesser, weaker, civilizations from stumbling upon a dead planet that was destroyed by television.
Very few civilizations could handle the awesome responsibility wrought by television.
I knelt down beside an ancient television set. The green-gray glass of the cathode ray tube had shattered. I said a brief prayer then stood back up.
‘Execute destruction sequence A6889,’ I said. ‘Let’s get the Shatner out of here.’