The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye

Copyright© 2016 by Vincent Berg

Otis watched the larger Wi'Tibold shuttle lift off, heading for unimaginable worlds.

"Well, that's the end of an interesting adventure," he said, speaking to himself. "Though it's hardly the end. Despite my age and lack of any diplomatic credentials, I'm now the current President of Earth." Things were wrapping up. The Wi'Tibold stayed while the humans struggled to reorganize their planet. Between the anger of the populous, the reorganization of the U.S. government and the Wi'Tibold offering to share technology, change seemed inevitable. It took a long time to change so many minds. Otis was now twenty-seven years old. He shrugged. "It's not really an adventure, though. It's a job, and it's mostly arguing, cajoling and compromising with people uninterested in changing, though for the most part, there's a real hunger for change. Until people witnessed the urgent need to adapt the status quo, few wanted to upset the apple cart. Seeing what we were on the cusp of becoming, the majority of people are eager to change. But then, according to the Wi'Tibold Ambassador, they've had thousands of years to develop their current position. Part of it is deciding to be good, but a more significant aspect is evolutionary. We need to breed our aggressiveness out of our genes, or at least modify how we express our frustrations, learning how to disagree without killing each other. It sounds promising, but it's easier said than done."

"I'm also concerned with how Peter and Paul will do when they return home? They face a tremendous opportunity, but they're as likely to be shot as soon as they exit their ship. Still, their war is effectively over. Once I explained to the Wi'Tibold how I tapped into the Ti'chrk network, they changed their tactics. They knew the Ti'chrk possessed a secure communication system, but couldn't crack it. They couldn't uncover any communication devices or detect any transmissions. Instead of sending coded radio messages, the Wi'Tibold used quantum strings to share small packets of information between multiple people. Every time I sent someone a message, it was simultaneously shared without transmitting anything. It's incredibly sophisticated. While the Wi'Tibold possess superior technology overall, the Wi'chrk invested more time into advancing their bodies and health. The Wi'Tibold abandoned artificial intelligence after suffering some bad experiences with it. Most of their research in those fields dried up and they turned their attention elsewhere."

"When the Wi'Tibold learned how their communications operate, they figured out how to tap into it. They extracted the nanobots from my blood and created a new link into their communication network. With that, they're technological advantages proved overwhelming. While they'd been beating back the Ti'chrk for ages, once they cracked their communications, they won every single battle, leaving them baffled. What's more, they improved on the Ti'chrk's technology. They already had faster-than-light transmissions, but they figured out how to communicate instantaneously across hundreds of light years. By communicating how to defeat them, they turned a defeat into a full rout! And I'm proud to say, we shared in that success, since we were their first test subjects." Otis nodded to himself. "Those victories lead to Peter and Paul's mission."

"They're returning to teach their people about what happened, both here and in their war. The hope is they can demonstrate that their system of government—the whole 'win at any cost' mentality—isn't worth maintaining. With the war effectively over, the Wi'Tibold insist that Ambassadors Peter and Paul be assigned 'overview status' over their culture. They're now trying to duplicate thousands of years of evolution in only a few centuries of societal programming. But then, that's the Ti'chrk's specialty: biological modifications. If anyone can engineer biological changes, it's the Ti'chrk."

"Being less advanced technologically, we'll have a harder time adapting. We also need to decide whether we want to imitate the Ti'chrk or the Wi'Tibold. There's a significant cost in relying on artificial intelligence and nanobot monitored biology. That's the reason the Ti'chrk don't read their citizen's thoughts. It seems they had their own issues with it."

"Meanwhile, my newfound fame is exhausting," Otis said, grasping his forehead. "Everyone wants to interview me. They recognize me in the street. Also, as the current President of the Earth, I have to solve everyone's problems. I'm expected to resolve the very issues we've been unable to fix over the last three thousand years. Hopefully, the term limits I instituted will help mitigate that. Merely eliminating politics as a profession should curtail the corruption and self-serving mindsets. If everyone gets a single term, they'll focus on solving issues rather than enriching themselves, though it's difficult imagining it succeeding." He grinned, the corner of his mouth curling up. "Still, It seems to be working. We'll experience setbacks, but the fact we stand a chance of joining the larger interstellar community might just keep us on track."

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