Author: Alzo David-West

Liquid metal waves flowed on the nighttide shore of the glaciated wasteland planet Korzan. A special meeting was in session.

The Ministry of Planets, acting under the United Interstellar Territories, had hyper-shuttled three of its delegates to a biodome on the barren world in concession to the Radical Machine Rightsists, who agreed to communicate there through their machine crystal Organon. Tomi Mura, leading the ministerial delegation, finished presenting a report concerning the fate of Jizu Mori, whom the RMR had executed in the incident on Arazan.

The report was adamant in its position: Under an extreme and antiquated principle of punitive law, Arazan cruelly and unusually exterminated a citizen of the UIT, which had long forbidden capital punishments against any of its populations, regardless of offense, on and beyond its nine-hundred-thousand member planets and expanding satellite-protectorates. By the universal laws and norms of the UIT, the RMR regime was accountable for a crime against interstellar humanity and thus responsible for reparatory compensations in order to secure and maintain a just peace.

The Organon, sentient and radiating blades of crystal light, transmitted five voices of its mechanical being, which spoke in turns:

“The Anthrobotic Republic of Planet Arazan is a self-governing independent polity outside the juridical domains of influence of the UIT.”

“We declare and defend as absolute our right to exist in our way with our laws and our norms against all alien polities.”

“We do not recognize unilateral ‘universal laws and norms,’ and we denounce as inimical and hypocritical the false human-centered justice sought for the ravager and deactivator of our innocent citizen-android: minder Nazeera-3.”

“Our recordings of the ravager’s anti-machine crime are incontestable.”

“More, our pre-execution memory extractions from the offender’s cortex revealed him to be so disposed, as a power tyrant and a carnal predator on the UIT satellite-protectorate of Kuma-Bari.”

Indeed, the ministerial delegates had investigated Jizu Mori’s background in advance of the meeting and found, after reporting his death on his home world, that he was, for twenty years, a tolerated abuser who cultivated a culture of sycophancy and fear through his unusual talent for cunning, compulsion, and coercion.

Tomi Mura replied, “We are regretful that such a type still existed in the UIT,” and she paused a moment. “Our interstellar civil populations are largely inexperienced with social atavisms of bygone ages. Accidental circumstances permitted one to thrive as an administrator in an isolated region. The UIT expresses deep remorse that abnormalities of character consumed one of our citizens to lethal violence when he toured the Anthrobotic Republic. Still, a citizen of our territories has been exterminated for a crime—something all our member polities forbid—and now, the RMR has self-incriminatingly disclosed forceful memory extractions of the condemned. These are egregious violations of interstellar human rights. We regard such acts as unlawful tortures, and we redouble our terms for reparatory compensations, or the UIT shall have to consider more extraordinary measures.”

The radiance of the Organon intensified. Tomi Mura shielded her eyes from the painful beams of crystal light that suffused the biodome. Her two co-delegates, unmoving, looked on with artificial eyes.

A unified voice emanated from the Organon: “The UIT delegation threatens the Anthrobotic Republic of Planet Arazan with uneven, hostile, arbitrary laws that attempt to absolve the human ravager and dishonor the android slain. We decree the UIT an enemy imperium malum and all its citizens banned from our sovereign orbit and sphere.”

The Organon dematerialized in an abyss of brightness. Shadows gathered in the biodome. Tomi Mura heard the beating of her heart while the liquid metal waves caressed the cold Korzanian shore.