Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

It took me twenty years. I mortgaged everything I had, including family, friends and the love of my life. But G-Nano was worth it. A revolutionary method where leading-edge technology would restore the Earth’s damaged biosphere as a side effect of improving everyone’s lives. The adaptability of the code allowed scalability that ran from going one-on-one with disease organisms to cleaning the plastic islands at the ocean gyres. I submitted the patent request along with the gigabytes of proving data, then waited for the calls to start.

After a month, there was only one: “Professor David Adams? This is James Rufford of the Ministry of Defence. A car will be outside your block in two hours. It will bring you to discuss your patent application.”

The driver was courteous, as was everyone I met on the way to the nicely-appointed office where James Rufford waited. He looked up as I came in, his wall screens displaying the highlights of my work.

“Professor Adams. Firstly, may I compliment you on the genius of your work. Secondly, may I apologise for the fact that it is about to be classified beyond public scrutiny forever.”

I just stood there, my mouth hanging open. He gestured me to a chair.

“You cannot be serious.”

He smiled: “I am. Let me show you why.” The wall screen showed a grainy, scanned photograph of a group of bearded, top-hatted gentlemen standing next to a wooden frame that supported a tall, naked being with hourglass-shaped openings where its eyes should be.

“In 1754, a Dakerda scout crashed in the Lake District. While computers were unknown to the gentlemen of the time, the mechanicals salvaged from the wreckage were revelations to them. What the only survivor told them before he died was an epiphany. The Dakerda were looking for a new planet as theirs was ruined. Earth fitted the bill: clean with a primitive civilisation. At that time, the gentlemen involved rightly concluded that we could not withstand the Dakerda. So they came up with plan.”

I raised my hand. “The Industrial Revolution. Mechanisation to evolve the technologies we needed.”

He shook his head: “Nearly right. They decided to make Earth unappealing.”

I slammed my fist down on the table: “Surely it is time for that policy to be reversed. We have the technology now.”

“In 1947, another Dakerda scout came down in Roswell. Analysis of that vessel against what little remained of the 1754 wreck showed technological advances on par or exceeding our progress. Their computers took us thirty years to crack.”

Rufford looked at me: “The Dakerda remain so far beyond us that it is doubtful we would even slow their invasion of Earth down.”

I just stared at him. The implications were horrific.

“Professor Adams, we cannot ‘clean up’ Earth. The moment we succeed, the Dakerda will invade and wipe out humanity. We must keep the pollution while we work on expanding into space. Our only defence is to become a star faring race so we can flee. Of course, if we fail, the polluted Earth will eventually spell our doom anyway.”

Twenty years. I mulled over what he had told me to work out why I had been brought in. With a smile, I extended my hand: “How can I help?”

He looked relieved: “Your designs bear similarities to the architecture of some Dakerda systems. We’d like you to discover how they work.”

“I would be delighted.”

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