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© 2003 Joseph J. Anthony
Once upon a continuum, an Exploration Ship of an Advanced Race came upon a Young Civilization, fresh and untouched. And the Exploration Ship remained in orbit a while unseen, to consider the best method of Touching.
"A budding Technological society," reported the Scientists to the Expedition Leader. "Recently emerged from Theocracy. Many fissionables. Armed to the teeth."
"Thus force is out of the question," said the Expedition Leader, "for it would be wasteful of our warriors and their fissionables." The Expedition Leader caressed her brains. "Study the parameters of their recent Theology," she said, "and place a Construct accordingly." And the Scientists went to obey.
And it came to pass that on the surface of that planet there appeared a Construct, 900 feet tall and robed in white, with a tremendous beard and stern aspect. And it spoke in a deep, resonant voice, "I am the Lord thy God. Bring unto me at once all the uranium and plutonium thou canst dig from thy planet's crust."
And the people nearby were amazed and slow to respond, whereupon the Construct smote the ground about with thunderstorms, and parted the waters and slew the kine of the land, so that the survivors seized shovels and dug most earnestly, even in areas where no fissionables of any kind were likely to be present.
And reports were made to the central government, and an emergency meeting was held, and various members of the assembly rose to argue whether the Construct should be obeyed.
The Rational Party stood and said, "Were this an actual god, its need for our fissionables would be remote indeed, for as it made the universe, it could make as many fissionables as it liked. As for the miracles it creates, it seems to us far more likely that some Advanced Race may be seeking to cheat us and leave us defenseless than that a god would approach us in such a manner."
The rational party then advised that almost all of the fissionables be reserved, with a small portion delivered to the entity via a salvo of attack missiles. And the Rational Party sat down.
The Religious party pointed out that the entity glowed with a brilliant light, that it had a deep voice and spoke in an archaic and poetical cadence, and that it had a white robe and beard and could kill people with lightning bolts, all of which were characteristic of their god as written in the ancient and holy manuscripts. They stated that their god, who was known to move in mysterious and not always sensible ways, must certainly be testing their faith and devotion. And the Religious party sat, advocating loving submission and every hand at a shovel.
The New Youth party stated that, whether the entity was Alien or Divine, it made no difference, since it was obviously benevolent in its mission to deprive the people of dangerous, environment polluting fissionables. Surely a new, less coldly scientific and more fuzzily intuitive age was about to dawn, and this Entity was its herald. And the New Youth party sat, advocating that a peace train be built and decorated with multi-cultural symbols to deliver the fissionables in a rapid and vibrationally harmonious manner.
And so, the ayes having it, the weapons of war were dismantled and their fissionables removed, and all the land was sundered in a vast search for More. And the land was leveled even by the digging, so that the hills were one with the plains.
And it came to pass that the last usable gram of fissionables was delivered unto the Construct, and thence transported aboard the Exploration Ship. And the Scientists thereon approached the Expedition Leader once again.
"A struggling Theological society, recently abandoning Technology, with no fissionables and no weapons of note."
"Very good," stated the Expedition Leader. "Land troops at once to seize their government, construct slave farms, and convert the benighted heathens to the truth of Zogianity. On second thought..." The Leader preened at her brains. "Withhold the troops. Let the Construct issue these commands."
And so it went.
Moral: Reason moves few people, but faith moves mountains.