Regarding Existence or Extinction

"Regarding Existence or Extinction," these were the only four words printed on the screen as Gaius stumbled in. At 2 a.m he wasn't even sure what they meant. Regardless, they sat there plain as day on the plasma screen slowly pulsing, in a eerie green glow, against the darkness of the room. Gaius plopped himself down in the aged swivel chair, that was towered over by the massive screen. Regarding Existence or Extinction…it sounded like the beginning of an academic journal, or perhaps a deeply profound poem. Come to think of it, how did the text get on his screen to begin with? Perhaps it was the interns messing around, still a pretty bland prank. No, there was something more too this. Perhaps it was a message? A cry for help? Though anyone in trouble would surely have come up with less cryptic means of asking. Gaius midnight rambling was interrupted when a second string of texted burst into life on his screen: "Why 642?" This message took Gaius back for a moment. Which one was 642 again? His memory was fading in his old age. He quickly rummaged through the greasy log book on the desk. After a serious effort was made to read his own handwriting he finally found what he looking for: 642, bipedal, 12th millennium, pre - space flight, X Class. Ah, yes, 642 how could he have forgotten. He was in orbit of their planet, the least he could do was remember their official designation.

He typed back "Why not?" The clicking of the keys was exaggerated by the aging hardware. It didn't take long for a response to appear: "Aggressive, warlike, dangerous." Truth be told Gaius had a special place in his heart for species 642, though they where rarely called that name these days. Gaius typed: "Aggressive but brave, warlike but hates war, dangerous but adventurous." Again the response was swift: "Why do take the risk? Extinction is safer." Gaius had often asked himself this question. Was there existence really worth it? He had witnessed the great wars of conquest, brutal sacrifices and horrific genocide. Very few species had matched their level of self destruction or carnage, yet very few had come as far as they did in such a short period of time. His own species early history had been marked with strife yet here they were, masters of the universe. Was is really fair to sit in judgement? To ask themselves every day: Existence or extinction? for thousands of worlds. Gaius absentmindedly glanced at the large red button across from him. The big bad button with one word written on it: Death. Nothing more was needed, everyone understood the consequences. Gaius looked back at the gently pulsing plasma and wrote one word: "Potential." No other species hated themselves more then 642. When almost every world looks at itself in the mirror it is happy with what it sees. 642 cries. They cry for the lost and the abandon, for the poor and hungry, for the destitute and disenfranchised.

Still no response from the screen. At this point several thoughts entered Gaius mind at once: I should probably check the security cams, that is my job, this is the security monitor, how did this text get here again? While Gaius was considering his potential gross breach of protocol by interacting with a mysterious text, a cold piece of metal shoved itself against his neck. The last thing Gaius heard before cranium was displaced over his keyboard was: "Say hello to ET you xeno filth."

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