The Way of the Polémixen
Fifty thousand years had passed since the Polémixen had visited that particular planet, the one with the Hominoi. That was what the Polémixen had decided to call them; it was perhaps an adjective more than it was a designation.
Captain Fid Argámus was the man to thank for the discovery, a man held in high esteem throughout history for having made the famous ‘decision in accordance with world policies’, which would henceforth bear his name.
When Captain Argámus first viewed the planet, which he named Thera, he saw a treasure trove of natural deposits that could have made him the wealthiest being on his home planet of Gerrón; all he needed to have done was alight, extract all the ore he could load, and head home. But then, there was the unavoidable matter of the Hominoi.
The Polémixen were a war-faring people, to be sure; but over the ages they had developed certain pragmatic observations of cultural restraints. Their perception of events in their own history was that after thousands of years of global embroilment, they had eventually conquered themselves. In the annual celebrations that followed that declaration, many would laugh about this, while simultaneously choking back tears of pride.
The traditions that had evolved from their own conflicts, would turn into laws, which they presumed to apply in their space endeavors and engagements. Their vision now was to go forth as a world power and wrest from others anything others might care to defend. It was their way.
And, just as any self-respecting thief might not steal from a newborn or an elder, the Polémixen would not engage in warfare with underdeveloped cultures. It wasn’t a consideration of conscience or sympathy so much as a matter of sportsmanship.
Captain Argámus could have helped himself to the resources of the planet. The laws regarding salvage or environmental exploitation were clear and liberal. ‘If you find it, you can take it’. And if the Hominoi had interfered, he easily could have destroyed them.
In such a case, his winnings would have been considered ‘ill-gotten’, and he would have had an uneasy future on Gerrón, enduring belittlement and embarrassment for the rest of his life. Such a one would have been called every discrediting name in the culture, and would have been shunned in public by all except his parents. His parents, in fact, would have had the sympathy and support of relatives, neighbors, and friends, providing they did not accept acknowledgment or benefit from the disgraced offspring.
Argámus was the first of his kind to go out and represent his race and carry out the objectives of the government. His actions and his rationale would be the precedent for those to follow. Five years out, he noticed a quaint solar system and then a planet, which he described “like a jewel”. He named it Thera, after his mother, studied and noted its potential and its inhabitants, and charted its location accordingly.
He entered in his log, “As I see her now, this planet is like a fruit, ripe for the plucking; and it registers as teeming with every element known to us. If it wasn’t for the inhabitants, we could set down and proceed to make ourselves rich beyond our dreams.
“The crew has dubbed them Hominoi because of their physical character and the way they move. But they are creatures still limited to the use of sticks and rocks, and it would be dishonorable for us to initiate a challenge at this time.
“I estimate that in fifty thousand years or so, these beings will have developed themselves to a level in which they might present a formidable resistance. And so, we will commence with their ‘tempering’ immediately.”
The Tempering of a World
The ‘tempering’ procedure was intended to leave a signature, something by which to be remembered, something to the effect of ‘we were here’. The Polémixen law was clear on this also.
They were to make themselves known and immediately compel or coerce the cooperation of the inhabitants into a modification of slave labor, perhaps constructing a monument or two. The purpose was to anger the populace and leave a reminder, a scar or two, so that when the time arrived for re-engagement, they would welcome the chance to retaliate.
It was acknowledged in time that the Hominoi were short-lived. It took one of their generations to construct such one monument. During that span, the Polémixen had divided their forces among the continents and had the native inhabitants of the other hemisphere erect monuments there as well.
Those on the mother ships divulged themselves, playing with the laser cannons, carving out images in the mountains and cutting out geometrically precise blocks of enormous proportions, some of which were stacked as if to represent enigmatic structures and others just left in piles.
The scientists on the ship determined that their own longevity was probably due to their advances in science and technology. The Hominoi would have their time to evolve, develop, and also advance.
And if they did not, by Polémixen law, the planet would have to be forfeited. It was the way of the Polémixen to ‘take any or all but not from the weak’.
Of course, there was always the possibility that another race, one not as principled as the Polémixen, might appear and take Thera. That would change the circumstances, and the situation then would be ideal for the Polémixen to move in. For if they were to be known as anything, they would be known as warriors. It was their way. And, now that the planet was on their charts, they would certainly be watching.
Captain Argámus and his crew moved on, and they found another planet, uninhabited and replete with raw materials. They helped themselves, and they were able to retire and live out their lives in comfort and with honor. Nor did any officer thereafter transgress against that most honorific decision. The millennia went by.
The Future History of the Hominoi
The Hominoi did indeed advance, and they developed into a peace-loving and artful people. They grew into cultures of self-appreciation, learning to love themselves for the inventiveness and the creativity inherent in their kind.
From their brains and minds and hearts came forth the formation of languages, the mastership of numbers, and the brilliance of inventiveness. Their collective research and amassment of knowledge was recorded and cataloged and was all made accessible through the publications of their sciences... physics, chemistry, art, biology, medicine, music... their discoveries and inventions were abundant.
And throughout the entire world history of the Hominoi, no war was ever fought.
Eventually, there arose in the pursuits of the Hominoi one kind of science that dipped into the uncertainties of ancient history, that part of the past where little or no written record had existed or had survived … archeology. Along the way, the Hominoi had rediscovered those impressive monuments of the past and the enigmatic carvings of titanic dimensions, and they had now spent centuries trying to understand them.
When it was posited that their ancestors would have been the only ones that could have built them, it was also countered that it would have been beyond their abilities. Many, many large blocks of high tonnage had been cut from quarries that were long distances from the sites of the monuments, and some of the terrains upon which they would have been transported would have been untraversable with their available means.
The cuts in the stones were clean and precise, suggesting sophisticated and futuristic machinery. The images carved into the mountains were of such enormity, the early Hominoi would have had to travel long distances and would have needed some long-range systems of measurement and communication to coordinate the processes; and here again, there was the question of precise transfiguration.
Three possibilities were deemed obvious. The Hominoi had done it all somehow, or it had all been done by someone else, or it had been a collaborative achievement.
The Hominoi had not, as yet, speculated on the possibility of beings from another planet, because they themselves had never thought to venture out into space. That need had not as yet existed and had not as yet been considered.
It was about 20 centuries into their recorded timeline when a discovery was made of a large cavern where apparently an entire community of early Hominoi had lived. And these ancestors had covered the walls of that refuge with images of what had transpired those 50,000 years ago. The depictions of ‘other beings’, alien craft, and the activities of the time were reasonably clear.
And on some panels were the obvious infantile representations of a people trying to literalize a barely existent language that was now long since unknown. The archaeologists would spend years turning the contents of that cavern into revelation.
And when that revelation was made known, the people known as the Hominoi began to experience a collective kind of fear, for they did not have the means or the science to defend themselves from the perceived onslaught; and they did not know that it was this very trait that could save them, at least from the Polémixen.
The Hominoi resigned themselves to the future foretold, in which one day invaders would come from the sky and would annihilate them. And they lived this way, in the shadow of the prophesy, for two hundred years.
The Polém-Homin Engagement
On the opposite continent from where The Cave of the Revelations had been found, other archaeologists were continuing the work of studying the monuments of their culture. And one beautiful day of blue sky and gentle breezes, a young scientist, Dr. Eulänt Triétt, was distracted from his archaeological digs by something shining in the nearby jungle.
It is of coincidental note, although it would have been unbeknownst to him, that he was a direct descendant of a pre-historical figure, one Chief Dif Sůmágra. He'd had direct dealings with the extraterrestrial visitor of the far distant past, the esteemed Captain Fid Argámus, who had brought devastation and suffering to his people.
The shiny object in question appeared to be a compact computer of some sort, encased within a customized attaché that also housed several pen-like objects. An investigation of the area where it was found revealed that several sizable rocks had been brought there and arranged purposefully so that the object would be protected over time and so that it would be noticed eventually. It was determined rather quickly that the device had come from the invaders who had enslaved and exploited the ancestors of long ago.
Nor did it take the Hominoi long to get the gadget to operate. It was indeed a computer, with a collection of data-sticks that explained the Polémixen, their culture and philosophy and history. Other sticks showed the designs, the blueprints and the schematics of their spacecraft, their war-craft, and their weaponry.
Within a very few months, the Hominoi were directing most of their energies and resources into preparations for war. And being the inventive people that they were, they installed significant modifications in some of the armaments. They prepared themselves in ways that the Polémixen could never have expected.
In the year 3102 of the Hominoi calendar, the historic Polém-Homin Engagement inevitably came to be. The galactic historians of the future who would be reviewing the particulars of the event could not bring themselves to call it a war or a battle; they could not see it as a conflict or even define it as a confrontation.
The Hominoi knew nothing of war or military strategies; this had never been in their character. They simply enhanced the cloaking technology they had found and used it to surround the Polémixen fleet undetected. The Polémixen could see on their scanners that the firepower now focused upon them was far superior to theirs. Not a single shot of any kind was fired.
‘When facing defeat, the Polémixen will throw down their weapons and do whatever they must to stay alive.’ That particular doctrine had never once been observed since their own early global campaigns, hence the reference to ‘throw down weapons’ …it alluded to weapons of a medieval sort.
The Polémixen fleet was then escorted back to their home planet of Gerrón, where it was also made known that the Hominoi could destroy the planet if they chose to do so. The negotiations went well... for the Hominoi. No battles were fought, and no one was harmed.
To prevent any future threat from the Polémixen, an energy field was positioned around the planet, which would deactivate any ships trying to get through. The Polémixen were effectively exiled to their own home world.
The Hominoi scheduled themselves to return once a decade to review the advancements of the Polémixen, with the understanding that the penal status would be lifted if and when the Polémixen changed their ways. The question for the Polémixen to ponder now was, “What happens to a creature of violence and conquest when it is caged for an extended time?” And an afterthought, actually something more of an overcast, now hovered over the name of Argámus.
The Hominoi did not concern themselves with these issues however. They were quite content in the knowledge that their history remained unblemished; no war was ever fought. Besides, they had a bigger mystery to solve. 50,000 years ago, someone had hidden a computer and accompanying data in the jungles of Sůrmýra, which cost the Polémixen their very way of life.
The Polémixen, as a company, would not have had any reason to do this, nor was it logical to think that they would have had a traitor among them. And the Hominoi of that time would have had no understanding of such things, for they were ‘creatures still limited to the use of sticks and rocks’.
Perhaps time would reveal the real meaning and significance of the Argámus Decision.
r. nuñez, 5/2011