by Bill Kowaleski
Creative Destruction is a sequel to the novel Brighter Than the Stars, in which Earthlings meet technologically advanced space aliens. The Cygnians come only to do business, but their schemes to sell fusion-powered generators become contentious and competitive.
Many human and alien characters return from the previous novel, including Jim McDermott and his team, who try to reduce the risk of societal upheaval that the new technologies threaten. Meanwhile, many different groups are either plotting to steal the technical advances for their own purposes or trying to destroy it and drive the Cygnians off of Earth.
|Cast of Characters and Species||Table of Contents|
Part IV: Antithesis: Africa
Chapter 29: The Tide Turns
I’ve just come back from Epsilon Eridani Tertia, or Tertia as the locals call it, and OMG, do I have a lot to talk about!
Mary Steenman liked to draw her readers in right away, and because everyone who paid even the slightest attention to current events surely had heard about humankind’s first official trip to another planet, she felt confident that her first line was a winner. She’d snatched the coveted role of Press Representative by cashing in every favor while threatening every competitor with the release of one or another form of ugly, incriminating nugget she’d saved over the years.
Now, she had to be certain that her first report would be a tour de force of words and video. She’d worked on it every evening after they’d returned from the banquets and entertainments that the Eridanians and Cygnians had prepared for them.
She’d seen and recorded a traditional Cygnian Enclosure Ceremony, a tiresome, pointless Eridanian play that climaxed in a two-hour negotiation, street scenes full of aliens casually strolling, rolling, or lumbering amid garish shops selling exotic merchandise.
And then there was a United States Senator, attacked, falling to the pavement; the blur of black fur flying over his unmoving body, the horrible clamping jaws, the bloody, broken body of a Cygnian killed in a foolish operation that had gone horribly wrong. Now she had to get it into final form and post it but, as soon as she’d returned, she discovered that the world was hardly waiting with bated breath to hear about Tertia.
Instead, the American and European press were full of reports about an Aliens Out press conference that had happened only yesterday. Claims that the Cygnians were filling Africa with their insidious technology in preparation for a large-scale invasion of Earth had every nutbag in a state of frothing hysteria. She gave it some thought and decided to weave her Tertia visit story in with the Aliens Out claims. But first, she had to make a few calls.
“Ms. Schoenbrun, this is Mary Steenman of TruthNoBull. Could I ask you a few questions about your comments yesterday?”
Maria’s voice oozed confidence as she said, “Certainly, Ms. Steenman. Happy to.”
“Ms. Schoenbrun, have you ever talked to a Cygnian?”
“Have you ever read anything written by a Cygnian?”
“Well, of course not.”
“Could you please provide me with the sources for your claim that the Cygnians plan an invasion of Earth?”
Maria’s voice wasn’t quite so confident now as she said, “Well, look at the Botswana Gazette from three days ago. It says that the Cygnians are bringing fusion generators into their country. And they also mention a factory that the Cygnians built.”
“Yes, I saw that article. It says nothing about an invasion.”
Maria sighed. “Do they need to draw you a picture? Of course they’re going to invade us. That’s what aliens DO!”
“What is your evidence of that, Ms. Schoenbrun?”
Maria’s annoyance was obvious now. “For heaven’s sake! You are so dense. There’s like a thousand movies and TV shows, thousands of books about aliens, and they always end up invading us. Why else would they come here? Tell me that!”
“To trade with us for copper and nickel, elements almost completely absent on their planet and needed for their industries.”
Maria’s smugness returned. “And tell me please, Ms. Steenman, what is your source for that little tidbit?”
“I’ve just spent five days talking to Cygnians. They explained their reasons for trading with Earth, told me all about their planet, took me to a museum that showed their peaceful history.”
“Oh right. And you believed them.”
“Why shouldn’t I believe them?”
“Do you believe in the tooth fairy, too, Ms. Steenman? You just told me they need copper and nickel. So why not just take it? Why trade?”
“They have quotas. They are obsessed with making quotas. With seven billion potential customers, they see our planet as a kind of paradise, a place where they can meet their quotas for centuries to come.”
“You, Ms. Steenman, are totally gullible. That’s all I can say.”
“So, Ms. Schoenbrun, are you sticking to your claim that the Cygnians plan an invasion of Earth?”
“And your evidence is — I quote — ‘That’s what aliens do’?”
“Quote me if it makes you feel better.”
“I’ll do just that.”
Mary ended the call and checked her phone’s recorder. She had it all. This was going to be her best article ever!
To be continued...
Copyright © 2019 by Bill Kowaleski