The Eye That Destroyed The World by WanderingRiverdog
The night sky is a truly incredible sight. From any viewpoint in the world, at least 9,000 stars are visible. What I find the most interesting, however, is that most of the stars in the sky aren’t actually there at all. Many have exploded into supernovas or collapsed into black holes a long time ago. What we see is nothing more than the light that has finally reached our sight after millions of years of traveling through the void of space. We see only the distant past, but we have no idea what is happening to those stars and planets now.
For astronomers, this presents a problem, especially in mankind’s newfound desire to find alien life. For years, humanity has searched the skies for new discoveries, but due to the finite speed of light, we are confined to observe only the ancient history of our universe. For all we know, we could be surrounded by civilizations like ours, but because the light from these worlds has yet to reach us, we can’t see them or know that they are there.
This is the problem which STScI, an offshoot of NASA that deals more with telescopes than rocket ships, decided to solve a few years ago. As you may know, light behaves like a particle. It travels at a particular speed and direction. It can also change trajectory if influenced by magnetic fields. This former property peaked the interest of several scientists and they began researching a way to control the speed of light itself. After many years and several key technical innovations, the team eventually created the Elgin-Yang Electromagnet, abbreviated as the EYE. This device used super magnets to influence light particles from a distance and accelerate them towards a single point.
They tested their invention and a video was later posted featuring the surface of Pluto with immaculate detail. To the astonishment of physicists and astronomers worldwide, the position of the planet was indeed consistent with mathematical calculated projections, despite Pluto being so far away that light would take nearly five hours to reach earth. We were not simply watching videos of pluto, but we were seeing pluto as it appeared at that moment, as if we were there.
Like a spotlight, STScI scanned the sky for discoveries that were previously invisible to them. They found nebulas and white dwarfs where some of the most colossal stars once dominated. Many planets historically considered habitable were revealed to be decimated by cosmic disasters. But their greatest achievement came when their ultimate goal was realized. The world stopped and watched as live footage of an advanced alien world flooded every channel.
The humanoid creatures were tall, pale, fat, and moved in a slightly unsettling way. They were completely hairless and each had four long, slender arms topped with three blunt fingers. their society was much more advanced than ours. Orderly rows of flying cars flew between their technologically astonishing cities and they grew energy efficient food sources in machines that seemed to operate by themselves. They had completely dominated all other forms of life on their planet.
The alien species, named the Cephalo sapien by STSCi scientists after their squid like appearance, were studied heavily by professionals and common people alike. As time progressed, the live feed from the planet’s surface revealed more about the mysterious civilization. The Cephalo sapien were behaving much more awkwardly than they had been observed upon their initial discovery. They frequently had their arms waving and outstretched in front of them, tripping and stumbling frequently. They would often fumble to grasp smaller objects, knocking instruments crashing to the ground. Some would walk right into walls. In short, they had the collective grace of a clown with it’s shoelaces tied. While many people found this strange, most professionals believed that the civilization must be so advanced that mere physical disadvantages were of no consequence to such intelligent beings. However, these theories were soon obliterated as the alien world they thought they understood began to dissolve.
The spotless flying cars that the Cephalo sapien had been seen driving flawlessly began crashing into each other, usually taking several Cephalo sapien lives with them. Ambulances that had previously been observed rarely desperately tried the reach the victims, only to crash themselves or to soar endlessly into the void of outer space. Stranger still, as their power source began to fail and fires erupted as the large cities began collapsing into rubble and disaster, panicked Cephalo sapiens began fleeing in all directions. Some leapt directly into the flames and burnt in agonizing deaths. We watched as the civilization that had been admired for its sophistication and genius began falling apart for no known reason.
Professionals argued and bickered over the cause of the collapse. Some claimed that an epidemic had ravished the world and we had timed our discovery just right. Others speculated that the Cephalo sapien were ruled by the cycle of creation and destruction in a way we could not understand. Some even believed that our observation somehow caused the disaster. Without proof, however, only speculations could be offered as to why the Cephalo sapien were dying.
Less than a week after the initial discovery, the few remaining Cephalo sapien that were not killed in the fires and debris lay starving on the streets and in their homes. No longer were they fat, but strange, alien bones now protruded from their famished guts, revealing advanced food deprivation. And there they lay, sprawled desperately on the ground with arms outstretched in a plea for help. The EYE scanned the entire planet, but not a single alien, intelligent or not, was in recognizably healthy condition. STSCi and nearly every other scientist on earth struggled to find an answer. They searched for any way to help this incredible planet when STSCi got an idea. If Light could be accelerated with the EYE, perhaps radio waves could be also. If the earth found out why this was all happening, perhaps there might be something that we, with a bird’s-eye-view, might contribute to their recovery. The signal was sent.
Hoping for a response, the modified EYE was switched to receive radio waves. It was swarmed with a barrage of alien signals. Translators went to work deciphering them, but it was clear from the beginning that distressed and panicked voices occupied the frequencies. Soon, we were able to unravel the mystery. Translators reported that, soon after the first images of the planet were produced, the Cephalo sapien begun reporting strange and unexplainable phenomena. They complained about blurry vision and the world around them warping into a distorted mess. Not long after that, their sight began failing them entirely. Without vision, their civilization was doomed.
Our curiosity turned to guilt as physicists determined that the cause of their failing sight and subsequent downfall was our own technological wonder, the EYE. They reminded the world that light is made up of finite parties. Although these particles can be manipulated with devices such as the EYE, if they leave, darkness takes their place. Starlight, firelight and any artificial light that might have existed on that planet was instantly redirected away from the planet and absorbed by the EYE in order to get the most up-to-date images of the surface. We, in an effort to uncover the universe, had stolen the light from a planet that depended on it as much as ourselves. In seeing them, we killed them.
As soon as STScI realised what they had done, the EYE was turned off. Now we can only speculate as to the fate of the Cephalo sapien. Did any survive? Did they or will they ever find out about us and what we had done to them? Will they ever seek revenge? Unless we ever decide to turn that machine back on, I suppose we will just have to wait to find out.