05 November 2016

The Big Blue Ball

Greetings Dear Reader,

I offer for your consideration a short story that makes the world a little less significant and much more important.  Enjoy.

Big Blue Ball

By Aramis Thorn
November 4, 2016

In control station seventeen on Rigel Six sit two hundred thousand observers.  They are the
only inhabitants of the desert plant.  Most of them sent from the nearby systems to serve their obligatory four years as observers and controllers.  Observer 87153 is overdue for his break.  Staring at the six screens attached to his console for an entire shift always gives him a headache.  Today it arrived just one third of the way through.  8108 considers asking for early relief.  Then he considers that Controller 1020 is assigned to his section.   He knows that Controller 1020 is an ass.  He knows that his request will be denied and still counted against him.
87153 returns his attention to his screens.  As is always the case his assignments are mundane, boring, and inactive.  He scans the six screens for anything odd, strange, or even slightly irregular.  Of the six systems, he observes five of them are barren of any intelligent life.  He only watches them in case one of the exploring species ventures there. 
Only one of the planets in the sixth system under 87153’s care has sentient life. In terms of sentience they are very low on the gamut.   The species barely gets off their planet.  They are not willing to risk enough to truly get out into space.  They have no idea how many times the Observers had prevented other species from taking their backwater system to plunder it for its many valuable assets. 

A couple of centuries ago the Controllers had decided that the species was not worth persevering.  They were developing too slowly and seemed too uncivilized to invest any further assets in their survival.  The vote had been taken within the rules set by THE COMPOSER.  He allowed for the Controllers to withdraw protection from systems that proved to be destroying themselves.  The final session to authorize withdrawal convened.
87153 had just been assigned to the system.  He took up observation after the vote but before the final session.  As a matter of protocol, he was to deliver a final observer’s report to be filed with the authorization.  Everything in the report agreed that the species on Blue Ball 8844 was dangerous, depraved, and deplorable.  THE COMPOSER had even visited the planet in an attempt to compose a redemption song for them.  None of the Controllers understood why they had not been allowed to withdraw when the species tried to silence him.
The final report made it clear that the species had little to offer the One Song.  Their notes were more sour that harmonious.  Their songs rarely held out the values of THE COMPOSER.  They were at war with each other.  They enslaved each other.  They were unworthy of the effort needed to sustain their protection.  All 835 pages of 87153’s report bore out the truth that hope for this species was ill placed. 
THE COMPOSER always attends the final decision.  He rarely intervenes.  He rarely overrules.   As the Controllers take their seats each thumb through his or her copy of the report.  There is a long section on the industrial growth of the planet.  Inventions abound along with some creative growth.  None of it, however, mitigates their violence and greed.  The final approval is a formality. 
Each Controller is polled and votes for withdrawal.  The lead Controller is about to pronounce when THE COMPOSER gently clears his throat, “What about page 233 in the creations section?  Let us have a look at item 143.”
The lead Controller quickly turns to the page.  He reads the few paragraphs written by 87153 under the heading “Baseball”.   Looking up respectfully but confused he asks THE CONTROLLER, “What is this?  It seems to only be a game.  It seems to only be played by ruffian and ne’re-do-wells.  It was invented as a past time for soldiers during war.  Respectfully, I do not see its value.”
THE COMPOSER smiles.  “The game is one of hope.  It is non-violent competition.  It is not governed by a clock.  The game constantly moves forward the idea of redemption.  In the midst of all their chaos they have found a way to learn that there is hope in every moment.  Eventually they will translate the game to life if we give them the chance.”
He turns to 87153, “What do you think Hank?”  THE COMPOSER always uses names.  He knows them all and values every observer.  “What are your observations about baseball?”
87153 clears his throat.  “I think that there is always hope.  I agree that this game holds it out to everyone.  Children dream of playing this game.  They make heroes of the participants.  They sell sugary ruminants with images of the participants.  They even include the entire planet in their final competition of the year.  They are a species worth watching.”
The lead Controller stands to speak but THE COMPOSER stays him with the lifting of his scarred right hand.  “Everything we do is to move forward hope and love.   This ‘game’ evokes those things in war hardened men.   This pastime is always about the present moment and finding the truth in it.  This hope is reason enough to protect this world.  This is well-observed Hank.”
The lead Controller speaks after THE COMPOSER lowers his hand.  “We have voted.  You have the power and authority to override it.  We will do as you wish.  How shall we measure their progress?”
THE COMPOSER turns to 87153, “We will allow Hank to be the umpire.  Tell us what you like about these beings and how you would measure their time.”

Hank revives from his reverie as the red beacon flashes on the Sol system screen.  He zooms
in on the Northern Hemisphere where autumn chills the air.  He further scrolls in on the middle of the American continent to an arena in Cleveland.  The final match of the baseball championship is in its final moments.  The team he chose as the benchmark is attempting to win the side, the match, and the series.  A single moment of hope blossoms as one player flicks the rawhide sphere to another.  The runner is called out.
The team he favors; the one named for the constellation Ursa Minor.  He chose them because of the hope found in the world through the Pole Star.  He knew THE COMPOSER would approve.  He knew that they would eventually win again.

He thumbs the call button on his console.  “I need a message sent to the council.  After 108 years the Cubs have won again.  It is time to reassess the planet.”

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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