Author : J.D. Rice

When man first delved into the depths of the sea, they discovered a teaming ecosystem like nothing they’d ever imagined. When he first ventured out into space, he found bright stellar formations in the midst of barren blackness. And when men finally learned how to venture into the very heart of a star, they discovered something they’d never thought possible. They discovered something new. A single particle, like nothing ever witnessed or theorized, glowing in an unknown color, humming with an unknown tune.

The Particle was all at once the most important discovery in the history of mankind, both aesthetically and scientifically captivating. People clamored to see it, traveling from across the globe for a chance to catch of glimpse of this new thing that scientists couldn’t explain. Many theorized that these particles could exist in the heart of the every star, that if we could only reach another solar system, then we could have two something new’s.

As belief in that theory spread, the people of Earth became unified in a way they hadn’t been in all of history. Economies boomed, international tensions eased, nearly every country on Earth with something valuable to offer took part in the interstellar project. Within fifty years we had reached Alpha Centauri, ready to delve within the depths of her central star to find another piece of heaven to bring home to Earth.

But there was nothing there. Nothing but hydrogen and helium, the most unextraordinary particles imaginable. So the world moved on to another star system, then another, and another. From star to star we traveled, searching for another taste of newness, and still we found nothing. Gradually the united Earth began to crumble. Our cooperation waned. Old feuds were reignited. And suddenly, without anyone realizing it, without anyone anticipating it, we each began to covet the Particle for ourselves.

The first bomb dropped without warning, a preemptive strike, followed immediately by the demand to give up the Particle. The following exchange of missiles devastated most of the northern hemisphere. Southern countries who had long been minor players in international politics suddenly became world leaders, their presidents and parliaments and dictators all promising the people one thing. Control of the Particle.

The wars went on for years. They are still going on today. As the current caretaker of the Particle, I’ve come to realize that this world deserves neither its beauty nor its wonder. I’ve decided that it’s time for the Particle to leave Earth. As my transport leaves the solar system, I pity the world I’ve left behind. They weren’t worthy. They never were. Their lust and greed and arrogance cost them their right to paradise. Maybe, when they reunite to pursue me and my treasure, they’ll at the very least spare themselves Armageddon.

As for me, I will hide quietly away in another star system, alone with my prize. This is really the only way it could have worked out. I am, after all, the only one who ever deserved the Particle’s majesty in the first place. Its beauty exists only for me. For me, and me alone.

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