Small Filters
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Small Filters

Little Rock of Horrors

We’re approaching the planet now.

The ships let out an audible groan. ‘Another one? How truly and terribly boring. How banal. How frustrating’, thought the ships. ‘Mind numbing little rocks that served no other purpose than to get in the way. Blocking the gloriously radiating cosmos. Obstructing eons of raw information’.

“Then” said the first. “So” said the second. “As models projected?” the lattice queried in harmony.

“The…”

“They’re eating each other sir.”

“They’re what?”

“Eating each other.”

“What does that even mean? What do you mean ‘they’re eating each other”’. How is that even possible?”

“Well sir, they appear to be using a remarkable variety of appendages to divide individuals into smaller components and then ingest them. Certain organisms even appear to be ingesting large quantities of others simultaneously.”

“What…all of them? Are all of them doing this?”

“Looks that way, yes sir.”

The concept was unfathomable.

Unimaginable.

Horrific.

Not even from the darkest recesses of the most prolific doomsayer could such an image be conjured. Eating!

On the home world the term was practically unused. Reserved only for discussions of stellar phenomenon that defied conventional description.

To eat. To consume. To ingest. This only happened when matter reached such densities that space-time collapsed in on itself.

“Are the ships detecting any abnormal gravitational phenomenon?”

“No sir.”

All assembled were silent as the apparent gravity of the situation washed over them. Confusion, upon contemplation, turned to terror.

What were these, things?

“Why?” said the first. “How?” said the second. “Explain!” sung the lattice.

“I’m not sure I want to know.”

“Upon closer analysis, this planet’s ecosystem appears to have developed a sophisticated means of self annihilation. Patterns of destruction and rebirth. Increasing in complexity, yet reductive in nature.”

“Entropy of a different form, I would surmise.”

“Elaborate.”

“Predominantly carbon based mechanisms of varying assemblages enlarge and reproduce through the consumption, or “eating” of other mechanisms. The system and its physical diversity is sustained by a cyclical pattern. The large eat the small. The small eat the large. They all appear in a very real sense to be eating each other, as previously stated. Also water. They appear to be eating the water. Quite unusual.”

“Unusual!? It’s…”

“Wait, you said they eat the water?”

“Yes sir.”

Images flashed through the collective memory. Ships lost to the gravity wells of imploded stars. Those dark maws now affixed to the frames of these unknown entities. Billions of them. Trillions. Infesting this horrifying world. Each and every one the face of death, destruction and nothingness. The ships themselves recoiled. Though star bound for a full galactic cycle, they had observed nothing of this nature. Nothing that elicited such existential fear. A boring rock, this was not.

“First. Erect a level 12 force field. Second. Secure relays and erase logs.”

The ships complied in unison.

“Abort mission. We’re leaving.”

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The Belligerent Optimist

The Belligerent Optimist

Sociologist, Social Entrepreneur, Sci-Fi nerd.