Author : Ari Brill
The galaxy is a dangerous and cutthroat place, with no room for the weak. So we have always known; intrinsic in the cruel laws of nature, all organisms must fight, or die. Knowing this, we were not unprepared. With the invention of hyperdrive came the invention of the hyper-torpedo, and with the invention of artificial gravity came the invention of the Gravitic Pulverizer. Not to say war was obligatory, of course. For instance, no one suggested attacking the Calee Empire upon first contact.
On the other hand, perhaps the Human Gravitic Pulverizer, capable of ripping apart a medium-sized star cruiser, was kept in line less by peaceful intentions than by the Calee Solar Annihilator, capable of ripping apart a medium-sized star.
Realizing this, we progressed rapidly in every facet of development befitting a newly minted interstellar empire. The Solar Annihilator rots in the Calee’s museums now, incapable of matching our most inferior weapons. We made contact with hundreds of species, and subjugated scores. The Grand Fleets of the Human Armada clashed with the hulking dreadnaughts of the Orthulla, never defeated in four thousand years, and emerged victorious. Trillions of humans swarm out from our fertile worlds, and see sights undreamed of only centuries ago. But one was so strange, so foreign, so impossible, that we at first thought we had made a mistake. One species, the Arpasi, had no space fleets, no weapons, no defensive platforms of any kind. They had never fought a single foreign war in the memory of even the longest-lived race. In short, they were totally pacifistic.
Surely, the traders who reported this back must have been mistaken. Such tall tales should not be believed by reasonable men. We asked the Calee, now reconciled and our greatest trading partners, if it were true. It was. “The Arpasi…yes, of course. They are a friendly species.” Unable to understand, we sent a secret delegation to the Hive-Home of the Krashni, to inquire of this matter to the Lords of the arachnid legions. The chitters we received in reply indicated only the same: the Arpasi are a friendly species. The subtle and complex wing-dances of the avian Zirkbo relayed a similar message, as did the deep rumbles of the Oowaan, the bitter transmissions of the ancient Orthulla, and the mocking chortles of the Hyakeks. In each of the highest councils of the myriad races of this galaxy, we received only one reply: the Arpasi are a friendly species. Reflecting on our own aggressive actions and the example of the peaceful and prosperous Arpasi, the Supreme Congress of Earth made a decision.
The Arpasi homeworld would make an excellent addition to the Empire of Humanity. It only took two days for a Grand Fleet to reach the planet. As per standard procedure, after failing to obtain an immediate surrender they glassed a continent and waited. The occupation commenced soon after. The Arpasi were rich, and the sack did not end for months. Unusually, the massacres only lasted several days.
That invasion occurred last year.
Today, the remnants of our once-glorious Grand Fleets flee in terror. Bashed and broken, they search for safe port but find none, for our planets are burned and shattered corpses. The alien vessels, black as death, have not reached Earth yet but they will soon.
Only now do we understand what we were told. The Arpasi are a friendly species.
And they have very, very powerful friends.