Monday, March 14, 2016

A Clockwork System

We have been watching, watching so closely. And all the while, we were hiding. We did not want to have the inhabitants of Brin notice we were here before the time of our choosing.

We sit upon the surface of Forward and watch Brin; we reside on one of the twin binary worlds of the Murasaki system. Twins yet very different. Fraternal, yet…strange. The whole system is a strange one. Someone would almost be forgiven if they thought the creator had decided to double everything in the Murasaki system, double planet, double stars, but never equals.

Someone would also be forgiven for thinking the entire system had been made by a watchmaker: tick tock goes the clock. In this case, the entire system had resonances that locked each and every bit to one another.

Forward and Brin were two inhabitable worlds orbiting around a center point, like two ice skaters clasping hands and whirling around and around. They were roughly equal in size and mass. They both had bright oceans and were separated by a distance of almost 1.5 million kilometers, .01 AU from each other, almost three times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. They danced around the center point every 150 days.

Brin and Forward were tidally locked to one another: the same face always pointed at each other. They were also slowly spirally away from one another. Forward was drier than Brin and would appear darker, but not nearly as dark as our Moon. Luna was as dark as coal and Forward was a mild brown with some seas, two ice caps and clouds. Forward was 80% land and was four times as bright when viewed from Brin at night.

Brin was mostly ocean, being 90%. The tides on Brin were very high and Brin was often covered by clouds. Brin, because of the cloud cover and seas, was five times as bright when viewed from Forward as the Moon on Earth.

They were both colder than Earth though. Ice caps were at the poles of both worlds. Brin’s often broke up and floated away during the ‘summer’ months. However, the islands would largely remain glaciated and form the nucleus of the next winter’s cap.

Both Forward and Brin orbited around Murasaki, the G dwarf star in the center of the system. Or rather they orbited around the center point between Murasaki and a small white dwarf, one we named Dragon's Egg. The two were separated by 45 million kilometers and orbited around their central point every 50 days. Forward and Brin orbited that came center every 450 days. Every orbit of Forward and Brin around the Murasaki and Egg, Forward and Brin circled one another 3 times and the Egg and Murasaki circled each other 9 times.

On Brin, there was an intelligent species. We had noticed them soon after we arrived. They had started tapping into their meager coal deposits. We had seen their first smoky fires rising from their few islands and small continents. They were at a critical juncture in their history, beginning their industrial revolution, but they were not human, so their revolution would be radically different. Not the least of which was because they were not a terrestrial species: they were amphibious.

This made Humanity's scientists wanted to study the Briners without unduly influencing them, so we hunkered down on Forward and watched. We watched as they went through the industrial revolution. Or their version of it.

They were amphibious and came out on land, did their manufacturing and mining. They returned to the water every night though. They were far from beautiful, except perhaps in their attempts to rise above their limitations and in the expressions of their minds.

We had been watching for a century. They were a fascinating race; so new and so different than our own. Their structures and their relationships did not have purely human analogs. They were closer and more alien each other than we were to each other.

Their society was so different but similar enough for tribalism, nations and wars. They had an equivalent of WW1...underwater. It was heart breaking and strange. They dug hideouts in the sea floor, closer to each other than our trenches were in Europe, but their blood swirled in the water as they were killed rather than just splattering like on Earth. No aircraft circled above the seas. But submarines built like battleships swam forward and were frequently sunk, crashing into the seabeds when they were shattered. Crawling tanks swarmed over the underseas like so many ants. It was like a steampunk twisted version of our world war in it had been played out in the thick and unforgiving marine medium.

And there seemed to be no winners. There were lots of losers and dead, however. That was definitely familiar.

The decade that followed was wild and their world seemed to flower more. The seas must have been fertilized by the blood and despair of all that death. Then, a month ago, though, we detected they had split the atom on one of the remote islands occupied and surrounded by one of the larger nations. It was isolated from the rest of the Briner nations. It was worrisome. It was more than worrisome.

We loaded the ship. The beautiful, beautiful ship. We were going to reach across the worlds, from Forward to Brin. We were going to reveal ourselves to the Briners and hopefully help them.

That was why we were getting set to reveal ourselves. It was not that we feared them. We feared for them. Humanity had been amongst the stars for over a millennia. And we'd seen too many worlds scorched bare; burned by nuclear fire, sometimes even down to the bedrock. Sometimes just shattering their civilization and driving them back to stone age times. Often leading their extinction. We didn't know if we could save these people, even if they were alien, from thermonuclear boiling once they started.

So we were determined to stop it before they could begin.

So, we, the watchers, ascended from Forward to descend on Brin...we descended in the hopes of intervening, of saving, of embracing our new and strange sentient siblings, our younger siblings, in hopes of winning their friendship.

We hoped and we prayed and we rose.

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