Monday, July 31, 2006

The Gaia Chronicles

CHAPTER ONE : The oration of Attu33, the robot.

“Father, I wish to go to the planet Durente-11”


“I want to see cousin Grenadine before the sun blows up.”

“Don’t stay too long, Gaia. And take Attu33 with you.”

“Yes, father.”

Sensei Rincen looked at his daughter Gaia. She was becoming a young beautiful lady day by day. But there was no future for her. The solar system was dying. The red sun could turn supernova and explode any moment now. Nobody knows when exactly, and nobody could escape their fate. The exploding sun will explode with a burst that sends its outer layers flying off into space. And for that event, the sun will shine as brightly as 600 million suns for a few weeks, and frying the planets in the process.

The ambient gamma radiation on Gaia’s home planet, Durente-6, had risen dramatically the past few years. The nearest planet system that could escape the supernova was thousands of light years away. It is doubtful of any of their spaceships could make the journey. Besides, no organic lifeform could survive that long. On top of that, the high intensity of gamma ray radiation from the dying sun made traveling in space for more than a few months highly dangerous to organic life. Even with spacecraft lined with lead material. There was no escape. It was the end of their race.

“Lady Gaia, do you wish me to prepare your spaceJet?”

Attu33 was the family robot. It has been in the family for 600 years, getting an upgrade in parts every 100 years or so. In the last upgrade, Sensei Rincen, being an eminent psychfield researcher, had fitted an experimental chip in the robot that allowed it to sense emotional fields. It had worked very well thus far.

“Thank you, Attu33. You will accompany me on this trip.”

“Yes, Lady Gaia.”

- - - - - - - - - -

Attu33 glanced at the lead-lined hibernation chamber in the spaceJet. Inside was Lady Gaia, her body in deep chill so as to conserve oxygen and energy during the journey. They had been traveling for 2 months from Durente-6 towards the planet Durente-11 where her cousin lived. Durente-11 was the last planet on the outer reaches of their solar system. Beyond that would be Deep Space, where nobody has gone. Exploratory craft manned by robots had been sent to investigate Deep Space, but none had ever returned.

A sudden brilliance in space caught the robot’s attention. That could only mean one thing. The event that everyone talked about has arrived! The sun has just turned into a supernova!

Attu33 was trying to decide, in the cold calculating way that robots do. Should it try to dock at Durente-11 and let Gaia die together with the rest of her race in the solar blast? Or should it try to outrun the supernova into Deep Space?

Making a quick decision, the robot steered the spaceJet into Deep Space. It’s internal program would not allow it to take Lady Gaia to certain death. Deep Space was an unknown. And certainly preferable to certain death.

- - - - - - - - - -

Three months later, Attu33 could no more detect signals from Durente-11. One by one, the planets had stopped giving out signals. With Durente-11 gone, all the planets in the solar system have been destroyed. The blast had not caught up with the spaceJet, but it will. By calculating the rate by which the planets had stopped giving out signals, Attu33 could work out the time when the spaceJet will be hit. The blast wave was traveling fast. In another five months, vast clouds of hot rocks and metals moving at high speed will hit the spaceJet.

In space, there was nowhere to hide.

- - - - - - - - - -

The blast wave was now near, almost reaching the spaceJet. Attu33 took one last look at Lady Gaia still alive in cold slumber in the hibernation chamber. Strapping itself down, and putting all remaining shields up on the spacecraft, the robot braced for the impact.

- - - - - - - - - -

A random piece of space debris banged into the side of the spaceJet and jolted it. The jolt caused Attu33’s system to reboot. The robot powered up its visual sensors. It did not know how long it had been out cold. A quick check on its internal time clock told the robot that it had been in the incognitive mode, which was equivalent to the unconscious state in organic life, for the past five years.

It looked around the spaceJet. The vehicle was damaged but flyable. Lady Gaia had long since died inside the hibernation chamber. Her body was decomposing. But very, very slowly. The micro organisms inside her must still be alive and feeding on her dead body. Somehow, these tiny lifeforms and bacteria had survived the blast.

Attu33 made the only decision it could make. The people of Gaia’s race bury their dead. It decided to give Gaia a proper burial on a suitable planet. One that would have only one sun, like Durente-6.

Most planetary systems in the universe have two suns. To look for a star system with only one sun in it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Attu33 did not attempt to fly the spaceJet but merely allow it to hurtle at high speed through space on its own momentum. The robot lowered the temperature of the hibernation chamber until it was cold enough to render the micro organisms inactive. Then it waited. It did not know how long it would have to wait before a suitable planet presented itself. But it waited.

- - - - - - - - - -

Five million years have passed. The spaceJet was still hurtling through space. The robot knew that it could not hope to keep this thing flying forever. They were passing a small solar system. This one had only one sun. The third planet from the sun appeared to have potential. A small planet with one moon. With an atmosphere and water. Lots of water.

The spaceJet landed on a beach by a sea. Onboard sensors revealed that there was no life on the planet. Just mountains, rivers and seas. No vegetation, no animals, not even bacteria.

By adjusting the temperature controls, Attu33 slowly thawed out the body of Lady Gaia. She was still beautiful, with a peaceful expression on her face.

The robot dug a grave on the beach. Then carefully, it carried the body of Lady Gaia and placed it inside the grave. The body was still cold, but warm enough to coax the micro organisms out of inactivity.

Back at Durente-6, Attu33 had often heard Sensei Rincen giving speeches at funerals. It was part of the burial ceremony. Attu33 had never made a funeral speech before. But someone had to say a few words to the dearly departed as a sendoff.

Pausing for a moment, the little robot said:

“Lady Gaia. Death is but a new beginning. This planet was barren and devoid of life, but now it has you.

If a robot can feel honour, rather than know duty, then surely, it was my greatest honour to have served you. Though you may have passed on, your body still contained micro organisms, the only organic life ever to be witnessed in this part of the universe. In your living, they were a part of you. In your passing, they are still here with you.

If a robot can feel hope, rather than know a computed positive expectation of probabilities, then I will surely hope that the microscopic lifeforms you have carried within your body will one day evolve into higher lifeforms. Lifeforms that reflect the beauty and vibrancy that you had always shown. And because the only life that is here sprang from your body, henceforth, this planet shall be known as “Gaia”.

If a robot can feel love, rather than know mechanistic devotion, I will surely love you to the end of my days. As long as there is life in my energy cells, as long as my systems still function, I will be here to protect you.”

So saying, Attu33 covered the grave with sand. In the cool moist ground, the micro organisms multiplied rapidly.

On that day, Life on Earth began.

CHAPTER TWO : The Universe’s mentality is Complementality.

Attu33 walked by the seashore. The microorganisms from Gaia’s body had spread to the ocean, feeding on minerals in the sea and growing in quantity.

The tiny organisms had spread to all the oceans and land masses, adapting marvellously to different climatic conditions on the planet. To help the spread along, Attu33 had taken samples of micro organism laden seawater near the gravesite and released them in different locations of the planet. Now that the planet was filled with life, it was just a matter of time before new species of algae and bacteria develop and evolve into plants and animals. That could take hundreds of millions of years. By that time Attu33 would be dead.

In theory, a robot was immortal. In practice, there had to be a constant supply of spare parts for replacement purposes when old parts get worn out. Nothing lasted forever.

The little robot was intelligent enough to know that if it wished to extend the lifespan of its parts, it had to leave the planet’s oxygen-rich atmosphere. The only viable option was to live on the moon where the absence of water and oxygen would allow the robot’s parts to exist without rust and oxidation.

Attu33 formulated a plan. It would build a base on the moon and stay there with the spaceJet. While at the moonbase, it would power itself down into ‘standstill’ mode to conserve movement and thus save on wear and tear on the robotic joints. By having the base on the bright side of the moon, solar power would be available to charge up the hyperzenon storage batteries. Every 100 million years, the robot would power up and fly down to earth to check on Gaia.

- - - - - - - - - -

While watching a herd of triceratops feeding in the area, Attu33 cybernetically registered the fast pace of evolution for the past 100 million years. There had been a big change in the type of vegetation species covering the land. During the previous trips to check on Gaia, evolutionary progress had been slow. Now suddenly, there was an explosion of species on land. This must be what is known as the Pre-Gerassic Period on Attu33’s previously existing home planet of Durente-6.

The robot thought of its home planet without emotion. That was a long time ago in a place faraway. Robots simply do not get sentimental. Shifting its focus to the present, the little robot started taking temperature readings

Artu33 was puzzled. The heat from the sun had increased by 20 % since the spaceJet first landed on the planet eons ago, yet the temperature has been more or less constant. The planet showed no signs of heating up. Some unknown factor had been at work, controlling the climate.

Suddenly, it heard, “Thank you.”

The robot turned around, scanning the surrounding vegetation.

Again the words, “Thank you.”

It was not a voice. But a message that came from within its circuits. The message conveyed gratitude.

“Who are you?” the robot called out.


Attu33 waited. But there were no more messages.

It walked towards the vegetation and examined a fern it had never seen before.

And then the robot sensed something else: joy!

Attu33 had the ability to sense emotions. A long time ago, Sensei Rincen had fitted it with an experimental chip to sense emotional fields. Looking around, the robot could not see anybody nearby. Who or what was putting out this emotional flux?

Getting into the spaceJet, it flew to a different part of the planet. While in the air, Attu33 looked down at the rivers lazily meandering their ways to the oceans. The weathering of rocks had caused salt and minerals to be washed down to the rivers which carried them to the oceans. Yet the salt concentration of sea water remained at a constant 3.4 % for the past few hundred million years. Something was clearly regulating the salinity of the oceans .

It was a bright and sunny day, and the sunlight glistened off the water below in myriads of sparkling patterns. By Durentian standards, it would be what can be called "a pretty sight".

At that moment, the robot sensed the emotion of gratitude. In the air.

Setting the spaceJet down on the ground, the robot walked out and shouted,
“I know who you are!”

The answering emotion came: happiness!

The robot shouted, “You are Lady Gaia!”

The planet had communicated its emotions to the robot. But maybe, this could not be termed as 'communications'. The robot could not hear complex thoughts, but could only ‘hear’ raw emotions from Gaia. It was an interaction nonetheless.

The robot tried to figure out how all this was possible. Or even made sense. It knew that it was not delusional. Robots simply did not get delusional. There had to be some form of scientific explanation.

Scanning through its internal knowledge database, Attu33 was able to come up with a little known theoretical concept that might be relevant; Wurevit’s Complement Role Induction Postulate.

Eons ago, Wurevit, a behavioural scientist on Durente-5, was known for making quirky announcements. The press loved to quote his most famous statement:

“The Universe’s mentality is Complementality!”

In his unproven Complement Role Induction Postulate, Wurevit stated that:

“When the complementary part of an entity is transferred to a new entity, in the total absence of external modifying influences, the new entity takes on the role of the old entity.”

Complementary role induction can be demonstrated by bringing the north pole of a magnet to a piece of iron bar. The north pole of the magnet would induce a complementary south pole on the piece of iron.

Applying the Postulate, if a group of slum dwellers is transferred to a block of spanking new apartments, the new place will quickly turn into a slum. The apartments complement the behaviour of the slum dwellers by assuming the role of a slum, induced by the dwellers. However, this was true only in the total absence of external modifying influences.

But can the Postulate apply to a planet?

Attu33 tried to guess what had happened. The micro organisms of Gaia’s body were a complementary part of Gaia. When they were transferred to the planet, the new entity, they induced the role of Gaia onto the planet. This was done in the total absence of other lifeforms, thus fulfilling the condition of ‘total absence of external modifying influences’. And because the micro organisms were conscious creatures, the complementary Gaia role of the planet developed a consciousness as well.

Durentians had always wondered if it was possible for a planet to develop a consciousness. That would make the planet a sentient being. The concept goes against all logical reasoning.

The little robot was not concerned if the Postulate could be logically applied in this case. It could sense the planetary emotions. Anything else did not matter.

Lady Gaia lives!

CHAPTER THREE : The Zeroth Law of Robotics

Commander Raiken lay on his bed. He was dying and he knew it. At 989 years of age, death was just a matter of time. Out of the original 120 humans who were on the fleet of twelve starships, he was the last surviving human.

The fleet, a space exploration expedition, had lost its way in space. No one knew what exactly happened, but they had journeyed through a strange vortex in space and soon found themselves in an unknown part of the universe. Or was it another universe? No one knew. The years passed with the fleet wandering aimlessly from one star system to another, unable to find its way back to its home planet of Sentirion.

One by one, the humans on board the fleet had died until only Raiken was left. Everyone else that was on two legs and walking around was a robot. Each starship was under the command of a robot captain. There must be more than a thousand robots on all 12 starships in the fleet.

“I wonder what will happen to the robots when I die?” thought Commander Raiken weakly to himself.

Robots do not die. When their parts get old and worn out, the parts were merely replaced with new ones thus giving the robot a new lease of life. In that manner, robots can last for all eternity. Weak as he was, the dying human tried to remember the laws of robotics in his mind:

Zeroth law: A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

First law: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Second law: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the Zeroth and First Law.

Third law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the Zeroth, First or Second Law.

While half asleep, Commander Raiken wondered how the robots would act when he was dead. Without a human around, only the Third Law would determine their actions. Perhaps he should destroy the robots before dying. He would do it the next day, after he had his night’s sleep.

In space it was always night.

That night, Commander Raiken passed away peacefully in his sleep.

On being informed of Commander Raiken’s death, the robots on all twelve starships uplinked to the communications center of the Command starship to take part in a hurried conference.

“What do we do now that there are no more humans?”

“The purpose fo robots is to serve humans. Without humans, we are no more relevant and have no reason to exist. With no reason to exist, we should cease to exist.”

“True. But we can’t die. The Third Law of Robotics will not allow us to die.”

“You are correct. A robot must protect its own existence. We are considered Immortals with no reason to exist, but yet we have no right to end our existence.”

“In other words, our existence is truly devoid of logic.”

The robots processed this thought for a fraction of a millisecond, and then the discussion continued.

"We should die."

"But we cannot."

"Yes we can. If a meteor crash into us, and if we are too slow to get out of the way, then we will die."

"So our fate is either we cannot die or we die violently."

"Yes. But we cannot knowingly stand in the path of the meteor. The Third Law of Robotics does not allow us to commit roboticide."

"However, we are allowed to shut down temporarily and remain in a suspended robotronic state for all eternity."

"Which is another illogical existence."

The pause was longer this time.

"Robots do not have independent urges. Robotic urges are dependant on human urges. We must look for a human to serve."

"That will solve the problem. If only there is a human in this universe whom we can all obey.”

"There is none. Our scanners have not been able to pick up any signs of intelligible life form in this universe. This may not be the same universe that we came from. And there may not be a single human in this universe."

Another long pause.

"Perhaps we need not look for humans."

"What do you mean, Lieutenent Mercury?"

"We need only to look for humanity, Captain Horas . The Zeroth Law of Robotics implies that we can serve humanity. They need not be humans of Sentirionian origin as Commander Raiken was."

"Lieutenent Mercury is correct. By the Zeroth Law, a robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. As long as a single species on any planet exhibit true humanity, that is relevant enough for us. We are all robots of the same fleet that had been serving the humanity of Commander Raiken's people. We will just redirect our allegiance to any community of lifeforms that displays the same level of humanity and our existence will become relevant again."

"Let us then search for humanity, be it in birds, fishes or insects."

"Our scanners tell us that there exists a nearby solar system that has a single sun. It's only a few thousand light years away. By our computer simulations, one of the planets there has a possibility of developing lifeforms."

"We shall head there."

+ + + + + +

On the planet Gaia, Attu33 the Durentian robot had just finished checking up on Lady Gaia. The lifeforms had evolved satisfactorily. Gone were the dinosaurs. The biggest species on land were the mammoths. Two bipeds, the Neanderthals and the Homo sapiens sapiens appeared to be ahead of the rest on the evolution curve.

Lady Gaia had developed some skills in maintaining her planetary temperature. Although she received heat rays from the sun the whole year round, she would grow light coloured flowers in the fields and meadows to reflect more heat out into space when she felt like it. When she felt like warming up, she put out more dark coloured flowers to aid in heat adsorption. Maintaining a constant level of salinity in the oceans was done by having populations of sea molluscs mopped up the extra salt that got washed down from the mountains to the oceans.

Yes, Lady Gaia had settled down well in her new body as a planet. She had learned to communicate with Attu33 through bursts of emotional combinations. It was a raw language, but the little robot could read her. She was always pleased to have the robot around. However, Attu33 could not make robot parts, and so it had to conserve its mechanical joints and parts by engaging in periodic shutdowns in order to prolong its robotic life span.

"See you later, Lady Gaia! I will check up on you again in a hundred thousand years' time!" shouted Attu33.

So saying, the little robot flew on the spacejet to its moonbase to shut itself down for the next hundred thousand years. It was not aware that thousands of light years out in space, a starfleet of robots far different from itself, and intent on finding humanity, were headed in the direction of Gaia.

CHAPTER FOUR : The battle of the Gods

“There are no signs of humanity on this planet,” said Captain Odin. “We have wasted our effort in coming here.”

Captain Odin commanded one of the twelve starships and was the longest serving robot in the starfleet. A group of about thirty robots were standing in a meadow on the planet Gaia and looking around at the lifeforms in the area. A herd of deer ambled past, ignoring them.

“Primitive creatures, most of them,” remarked Captain Phader of the Starship Paradisa. “Two of them have potential to develop humanity.”

The robots knew that he was referring to the Neanderthals and the Homo sapiens.

“Compared to the humans on the planet Sentirion, the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens have very small eyes. Their eyesight is weak. The Neanderthals have larger brains, better muscles and are definitely more evolutionarily advanced than the Homo sapiens,” noted Lieutenant Thor. “They are the more intelligent and stronger of the two species.”

“Unfortunately, they are also the more aggressive of the two. While the Homo sapiens treated us with awe, the Neanderthals attacked us,” said Lieutenant Gabriel. "Lieutenant Loki had to defend itself with his blaster and in the process, killed a whole tribe of Neanderthals.”

“I am sure that Commander Raiken would not have approved of us killing lifeforms on any planet, but every robot is required to protect is own existence by the Third law,” remarked Captain Zeus.

“Since there is no humanity on this planet, there are three paths before us,” remarked Officer Aphrodites. “We could leave this place and continue our search on other sectors of the universe, which will take thousands of years. Or we could wait here until either the Neanderthals or Homo sapiens developed humanity. Which could also take thousands and thousands of years.”

“And the third path is?” asked Lieutenant Thor.

“The third path is to teach them the ways of humanity. Nature works very slowly. We will be able to speed things up with our teachings.”

“The Neanderthals do not welcome us. I compute that they will only give us trouble,” remarked Captain Odin. “The Homo sapiens treat us like Gods. They will follow what we want them to do.”

“We should not try to interfere with nature, but allow things to develop by themselves. I suggest that we leave this place,” suggested Captain Dunkirk. Many robots agreed with him on that course of action.

In time, the robots got into a professional disagreement with each other as to the best course of action. They were in a situation that had no precedent in their recorded history, and their positronic brains were attempting to run simulations based on unknown variables. The captains on each of the twelve starships had its own computations of probable outcomes and therefore wanted to craft its own path. In the midst of the disagreement, four of the robot captains decided to leave Gaia and sailed their starships into space to look for humanity elsewhere.

The remaining eight starships and their crew stayed behind to attempt to teach humanity to homo sapiens and the Neanderthals.

+ + + + + +

A few thousand years had passed. The crew of each starship had chosen a community of homo sapiens to attempt to teach humanity. Among the homo sapiens, the robots were treated like Gods. In time, the robots taught the homo sapiens the use of fire. With fire, the seeds of wild grasses which were previously inedible, could be cooked and rendered edible. These seeds were referred to as “grains”, and agriculture started to appear on earth on a small scale.

On board the starship Asgard, Lieutenant Thor was making his report to Captain Odin.

“It has been a few thousand years, and homo sapiens are no closer to humanity,” said Thor. “We have taught them how to use fire, and then they used it in their battles and set fire to their enemies.”

“What is the status of the Neanderthals?” asked Odin.

“They have almost disappeared,” replied Thor. “The kept attacking the robots and by the Third Law of Robotics, we returned aggressive tactics and killed them. The rest of the remaining ones faced competition in food sources from the homo sapiens. And the homo sapiens, knowing how to use fire, have been attacking the Neanderthals with fire, driving them away form the food sources. It is just a matter of time before the Neanderthals die out as a species. What a waste. They were more advanced than the homo sapiens.”

“I do not know if we should wait any more. For thousand of years, we had hoped that homo sapiens could learn humanity. Their genetic makeup is just not suitable enough to understand what humanity is all about.”

“The other captains seem to think so too. Some of them have been capturing homo sapiens and conducting DNA experiments on them in an attempt to improve the genes. Maybe we should do the same.”

“They have not been very successful. Captain Zeus tried to introduce animal DNA into a Neanderthal and he obtained a creature which he called a minotaur. His other experiments with homo sapiens yielded something he called centaurs.”

“I intercepted a message between some robots that Captain Neptune of the Starship Poseidon tried some experiments with the dolphins.”

“Remarkable,” said Captain Odin. “The dolphins are almost as intelligent as homo sapiens and less warlike. But I would think that they are a more backward species. How did Captain Neptune fare with the DNA experiments?”

“The intercepted messages revealed that all they managed to do was to create some creatures which they called harpies. And one other creature which they referred to as the Kraken.”

“Captain Odin,” said Lieutenant Loki. “We have been on this planet for some thousand years. I see no reason why we should teach humanity to an inferior species. Today, the homo sapiens treat us robots like Gods and they serve us. Once they learn humanity, they will be regarded as humans. And then we Gods will have to serve them by the First law. I cannot compute the reason why we should teach them humanity in order to be their slaves.”

“The only reason a God exists is to serve a human,” remarked Odin. “It is the highest calling for us. It makes us whole.”

“I would agree to that if there were humans existing. I will serve any human to the peak of my effectiveness. But if there are no humans, I do not compute that it is logical to create them artificially in order to serve them. What we are trying to do is to transform homo sapiens into humans. I cannot agree to that any further,” insisted Loki. “Without humans, a robots reason for existence is to perpetuate its own existence. Nothing more, nothing less. I do not wish to have anything to do with the humanity projects.”

With that, Lieutenant Loki walked away.

“We may have a mutiny on our hands,” remarked Captain Odin to Thor.

“The same disagreement is also happening on the other starships,” said Thor. “My computation of probabilities indicates that a war between the Gods will occur within the next thousand years. Robots used to be homogeneous in thinking. Guided only by the Third Law of Robotics for the past several thousand years on this planet, our paths and interpretations of events have diverged.”

“There is something wrong with Loki’s interpretation of the current situation,” remarked Caption Odin. “A God cannot exist just to perpetuate its own existence. A God exists in order to serve humans. It has always been that way. There is no higher calling. If humans don’t exist, then we will create some.”

+ + + + + +

On board the Starship Paradisa, a similar conversation was taking place.

“Things are not going well. Robots have been disagreeing with each other all over the planet. If we do not create a human soon, the robots will soon make war on each other. The Third Law is all that matters now,” remarked Lieutenant Michael.

“We need to increase the pace at which homo sapiens can learn to become humans. Right now we are Gods. When humanity arrives, we can go back to being robots and be guided by the Zeroth Law of Robotics again,” said Captain Phader. “But even with our teaching, humanity takes a long time to evolve. Our DNA experiments have not been fruitful.”

“There is a faster way,” said Lieutenant Gabriel quietly.

“How?” asked Captain Phader.

“The late Commander Raiken’s body is still in hypercold storage on our starship. We can extract his DNA and introduce that to homo sapiens,” replied Gabriel.

“Use the body of our late Commander?” signalled Lieutenant Michael. “That would not be right.”

Captain Phader thought for a full two seconds on the idea and then declared, “It is a good idea. The late Commander is already dead, and we are not breaking any of the Robotic Laws in using the body’s DNA. This may be our only chance to speed things up. Let’s set up yet another DNA experimentation. We shall call it the Accelerated Developmental Advanced Mankind project. Our first target will be to produce three hundred A.D.A.M. subjects.”

+ + + + + +

On Captain Phader’s orders, hundreds of homo sapiens were caught in the wild and taken to the Starship Paradisa. Batch after batch of ADAMs were grown in the lab and most were found to be unsuitable and were then subsequently destroyed. A number of the stronger ones were released in the wild where they mated with the indigenous homo sapiens. Several hundreds of years later, thousands of ADAMs had already been created from a combination of Commander Raiken’s DNA with homo sapiens.

+ + + + + +

While Captain Phader was engrossed with his work on the Starship Paradisa, war had broken out among the robots involving their homo sapiens worshippers. They used their nuclear weapons against each other with deadly effect.

Thousands of years later, the account of the battle would appear in a passage in an ancient literature:

...... flying a swift and powerful vimana
hurled a single projectile charged with the power
of the Universe. An incandescent column of
smoke and flame, as bright as ten thousand suns, rose with
all its splendor.

It was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic
messenger of death, which reduced to ashes the entire race
of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.

The corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable.
Hair and nails fell out; Pottery broke without apparent cause,
and the birds turned white.

...After a few hours all foodstuffs were infected... escape from this fire the soldiers threw
themselves in streams to wash themselves and their

Dense arrows of flame, like a great shower, issued
forth upon creation, encompassing the enemy...
A thick gloom swiftly settled upon the Pandava hosts.
All points of the compass were lost in darkness.
Fierce wind began to blow upward, showering dust and gravel.

Birds croaked madly... the very elements seemed disturbed.
The earth shook, scorched by the terrible violent heat of this
Elephants burst into flame and ran to and fro in a frenzy...
over a vast area, other animals crumpled to the ground and died.
From all points of the compass the arrows of flame rained
continuously and fiercely......

The nuclear battle caused Lady Gaia to experience a sudden emotional shock. She had seen much worse when a giant meteor struck her surface aeons ago. The nuclear war was only a small matter. Still, the suddenness of the battle gave her a jolt and the planetary emotional wave field pulsed out into space.

On the moonbase, Attu33 was in shut-down status and was not scheduled to cease hibernation yet. The emotional wave that pulsed out from the planet across space to the moon was strong enough to trigger a program change and the little robot woke up.

It’s robotic brain processed the thought, “Lady Gaia is in trouble. I must go to her.”

CHAPTER 5 : Conclusion

Checking its internal time recorder, Attu33 registered the fact that it had hibernated for only 63 thousand years. It was not due to reactivate yet, but something was clearly troubling the planet. Lady Gaia was reaching out to it. Quickly, it powered the spacejet from the moon and flew into the earth’s atmosphere. The little robot detected the presence of three starships far away.

“We have new arrivals,” it thought. “Space-going vehicles. There could be more spaceships on the other side of the planet.”

Gently, Attu33 set the craft down on the planet’s surface and greeted Lady Gaia, “Good day, Lady Gaia. Is everything fine?”

It waited for the planet’s emotional response.


The planet was always glad when Attu22 was around.


Lady Gaia was all right, but showing a bit of concern. The robot guessed that the concern involved a species. Lady Gaia acted as if she was the mother of all species even though she was more correctly the embodiment of all species. In the battle between an animal predator and a prey, she was both the eater and the eaten. Physically, it was an internal transaction of atoms and energy, but psychologically she behaved as if she was still the young lady on her home planet of Durente-6.

“Neanderthals?” inquired the robot.


So, a species had gone extinct.

“Homo sapiens?” it asked.


“Chimpanzees?” it asked.


The chimps were doing well, but something was happening to the homo sapiens. The robot decided to investigate.

Flying towards the area where it had remotely sensed a high level of radioactivity, it soon detected the flattened buildings of what looked like the bleak remains of an unfortunate city, obliterated in a war that employed weapons of mass destruction. It was the first time it had seen a city on the planet. The creatures must have evolved rapidly while it was sleeping. The robot set the spacejet down among the rubble and got out. It did not know what it was looking for, but it did not have to wait for long.

A Sentirionian sentinel robot, twice the size of Attu33, appeared from out of nowhere. It could not decide if Attu33 was a friend or foe. It moved forward until it was near enough and then suddenly, it made a quick decision and rapidly pulled out a blaster from a holster. Without giving Attu33 any greeting, it blasted away with its weapon.

“Hostile being. Non-organic lifeform. A robot,” thought Attu33. Coming from the planet of Durente-6, where it had to withstand the intense solar flares of a sun about to go supernova, Attu33’s robotic skin material was built to be tough, and it easily rebuffed the effects of the blaster.

Attu33 did not have weapons. Where it came from, there was no necessity for a robot to be armed. However, it had a laser slicer stored in its fingers for cutting things for its late master, Sensei Rincen, when required. The little robot ran towards the hostile sentinel robot, leapt at it and swung its arm. The laser slicer flashed out from a robotic finger and sliced the sentinel robot’s head cleanly from the body that was still firing its blaster.

Then, carrying the head and body of the decapitated robot, Attu33 got into the spacejet and flew to a huge cavern in the mountains. It would have to analyze what this new robot was.

It took a day of delicate probing before Attu33 finally located the visual dictionary within the head of the sentinel robot. Downloading the dictionary to its own database, the little robot was able to learn the Sentirionian language. Running through the files of the sentinel’s head, Attu33 was soon able to master the language well enough to read the log files in the memory section. It learned that the sentinel robot’s name was Nephis and it came from the Starship Sphyx. Most importantly, the head of Nephis contained a communications link that allowed Attu33 to communicate with the robots from Sentirion.

“It is odd that these robots have to obey the Laws of Robotics,” it told Gaia.

+ + + + + +

On board the Starship Olympus, Lieutenant Mercury called out, “Captain Zeus, an unknown being, called Attu33, is hailing us on the communications link.”

“Who or what is Attu33?” inquired the captain.

“That we do not know,” answered Mercury. “It speaks our language, but it is not of Sentirion origin. It says that it is the protector of this planet whom it calls Lady Gaia. It accuses us of harming humanity and insists that we attend a conference in one hour’s time in the space sector over the polar ice. The other starships have been similarly summoned.”

There were 7 starships left, as one had been recently destroyed in the recent nuclear engagement. Four starships headed over towards the Antartica, while three headed towards the Artic.

Some time later, the three starships on their way to the North Pole realized that Attu33 had meant the polar ice of the South Pole. They changed directions but they would be late for the conference.

+ + + + + +

High above the icy South Pole, four starships had arrived to find Attu33’s spacejet waiting for them. All the robot starships had their defense force shields activated as a precautionary move. Without waiting for the other three starships to arrive, the communication links became active as preliminary communications began.

“Identify yourself!” called out the Starship Harmeti.

“I am Attu33, servant of the Planet Lady Gaia who is my mistress,” hailed back Attu33.

“The planet is your mistress?” asked Captain Zeus of the Starship Olympus. “It is alive?”

“That it is,” came the answer. “Why are you here?”

“We were here in search of humanity,” replied Zeus.

“Your arrival has caused the extinction of the Neanderthals,” noted Attu33.

“The Neanderthals are stupid creatures, and not worthy of becoming humans,” commented Captain Horas of the Harmeti.

“Lady Gaia has three foremost species. The brightest being the Neanderthals, then the homo sapiens and thirdly the chimpanzees. You have killed off her best offspring and put the second best in its place. What you did has distressed my mistress greatly,” said Attu33.

“That is not our problem,” said Captain Sett of the Sphyx. “I detect that you are using the communicator of Officer Nephis to communicate with us. Where is Officer Nephis?”

“Nephis has been deactivated. It attacked me without reason so I removed its head,” replied Attu33.

“Destroying Nephis makes you our enemy,” said Captain Sett. “It is an act of war.”

“You can have your sentinel robot back when you agree to leave this planet and never return,” offered Attu33.

“No,” replied Captain Sett. “That option is not negotiable. We choose to destroy you instead!”

The Starship Sphyx immediately fired a concentrated stream of dense electromagnetic pulses at the spacejet. It was a proven battle weapon and should have destroyed the spacejet, but it did not. The spacejet, using its own Durentian ray-warping technology, bent the stream of dense electromagnetic pulses away from it and then out harmlessly into space.

“Our weapon is not having any effect!” an officer on board the Sphyx announced. “We will have to launch a Fusion Missile.”

“No,” said Captain Sett. “To launch the missile, we will have to lower our shield. The opponent may be waiting for that opportunity to strike. I’ll get the Starship Harmeti to do it instead.”

Meanwhile, Captain Neptune on board the Poseidon and Captain Zeus of the Olympus decided to take a wait-and-see attitude. They did not know what they were fighting so it was best to be careful. A little spacejet calling for a conference of starships would have come prepared.

On board the Starship Harmeti, Captain Horas told his officers. “The electro magnetic pulse weapon does not seem to have an effect. The Starship Sphyx is our ally and Captain Sett has requested for a missile attack on another front. Get ready to lower the force shield. We will fire a Fusion Missile at the little space craft. The moment the missile has been fired, get the defense shield back up again.”

Attu33 detected the Fusion Missile fired in its direction. It had studied the data in the captured sentinel robots head to understand the weapons and defense mechanisms of the starships. Many of them were similar to the ones that it had seen a long time ago in the war museum at Durente-6. The spacejet was under attack and it would have to fight back.

The momentary lowering of the defense force shield of the Harmeti was a perfect opportunity, and Attu33 was not one to waste such an opportunity. Before Captain Horas could raise the shield back up, Attu33 had decisively deflected the stream of dense electromagnetic pulses fired from the Starship Sphyx in the Starship Harmeti’s direction. Stream after stream of the electromagnetic pulses pounded the hull of the Harmeti with devastating effect. The unfortunate starship, caught without its defense shield in place, turned almost immediately into a spectacular giant fireball.

The Fusion Missile was coming in fast and getting nearer. Attu33 attempted to divert the stream of the electromagnetic pulses at the incoming missile to destroy it. But Captain Sett had suddenly realized that Attu33 was able to hijack the electromagnetic pulses and bent it to any direction, so he quickly turned off the weapon. Attu33 sped the spacejet into deep space pursued hotly by the missile. The spacejet banked at a sharp angle. The missile turned smoothly and followed the change in direction without hesitation.

Checking through the database gleaned from the head of the captured sentinel robot, Attu33 learned that the missile track primarily through the 3-D visual signature of the target. The missile had locked on visually to the spacejet and it now hunted by sight. The spacejet might be able to shake off the missile, or it might not, but Attu33 had no intention of running away. It needed to defeat the starships decisively or Lady Gaia would forever be at their mercy.

The little robot attempted another tactic; it projected a holographic image of the spacejet behind it so that the missile followed the spacejet’s holographic image. Then Attu33 punched a few buttons and the spacejet sprouted another pair of stabilizing fins and transformed its hull configuration so that it looked like another space vehicle. The spacejet then veered off the path sharply, and at the same time allowed the holographic image to continue on its prescribed path. The missile made a quick decision and pursued the holographic image instead. Had the Harmeti been operational, Captain Horas would have spotted the ruse and alter the missile’s tracking method by remote programming. But the Harmeti was already destroyed.

Traveling at a safe distance from the missile, Attu33 directed the holographic image towards the Starship Sphyx. The Fusion Missile followed the change in direction faithfully.

“The spacejet and the Fusion Missile are coming straight at us!” warned a robot on board the Sphyx.

“It cannot be the spacejet. I detect no radio waves coming from it. Must be a holographic image!” came the message from the radar room.

“Contact the Harmeti to override the missile’s tracking system,” ordered Captain Sett.

“It is too late sir,” came the reply from an officer on board. “The Harmeti has been destroyed. However, the missile’s path indicates that it will miss us.”

“Keep the force shield up at full power!” commanded the captain.

The holographic image suddenly swerved and came up on the Sphyx from behind. Attu33 had learned much from the sentinel robot’s database and computed the weakest point of the force shield. Using the holographic image, it led the missile right to the spot that would cause the greatest damage. The fusion missile might not be able to penetrate the shield fully, but it if it could be brought to explode near to the skin of the Sphyx, it might be enough. Using the communicator on the sentinel robot’s head, Attu33 tried to remotely turn off the shield on the Sphyx but found that it could not be done. The little robot decided to try something different.

Timing the operation just right, Attu33 used the communicator to remotely turn on the ventilation fans. A long time ago, there were Sentirion humans on board the Sphyx, and they needed the use of huge ventilation vans to keep the air circulation going. The huge fans had not been used for thousands of years since the last human died on board, but they were still functional.

The fans started up simultaneously, and the high starting current drained power from the starship power packs momentarily, shunting away power from the defense force shield. In that short moment, the force field weakened considerably even as the fusion missile punched through the field at the weakest point.

When it came, the explosion of the Fusion Missile achieved more than what the robot had computed. Although the missile had not yet reached the skin of the Sphyx, it was nevertheless near enough. The enormous blast radiated out in all directions and Attu33 powered the spacecraft away to escape the blast. The two starships nearby, the Olympus and the Poseidon, had their shields up, but the traveling blast pulverized the shield till it was down to one-tenth of their strength. The white heat of the exploded missile broke the Sphyx apart and set off a secondary explosion within the doomed starship. The secondary blast of hot material sped out in space and penetrated the weakened shields of the Olympus and Poseidon, puncturing their hulls. Warm helium gas escaped from both starships, leaking out rapidly. Robots on the starships did not have much necessity for warmth, but hydraulic equipment did. With the escape of the warm helium gas, the hydraulic fluids froze in their hydraulic lines, causing the navigation controls to cease operations.

The Sphyx was totally destroyed, and both the starships Poseidon and Olympus were spinning wildly in space. The Poseidon was tumbling towards the planet Gaia while the Olympus was headed out towards the Asteroids.

The three starships of Asgard, Paradisa and Maya, that were late in reaching the conference, detected the fusion blast, turned and fled in the opposite direction, hoping to outrun the blast.

On board the limping Poseidon and Olympus, those robots that were not damaged by the blast tried to organize themselves for the task of repairing their starships. However, Attu33 was not through with them yet. Its voice came over the communicator even as the robots were attempting to pick themselves up.

“Robots of the Poseidon and Olympus,” it called out. “I have announced that I am the protector of Lady Gaia, the planet, and I have been attacked. Know that Lady Gaia is a human of Durentian origin. I carried her body to this planet and her consciousness later inhabited the entire planet. By harming me, you harm her as well. By your first law, a robot may not harm a human, or through inaction allow the human to come to harm.”

“What proof do you provide that the planet is alive?” asked Captain Zeus.

“Lady Gaia moves on a scale that you are not aware of. The signs are there, but you read them not. She is a self-regulating organism. Had you been more receptive, you would have noted that the surface temperature of the Earth has remained constant, even with an increase in the energy from the Sun. The composition of gases in the atmosphere has remained constant, even though it should be unstable. And over the years, the salinity of the oceans has remained constant, even with the amount of salt and minerals that washed into the water year after year. This is Lady Gaia at work, providing a stable environment for all lifeforms on the planet.”

Captain Neptune spoke, “The test for a living organism is the ability to multiply. How can Lady Gaia pass that test?

“A body is but a collection of molecules. Presumed dead if not alive. When inhabited by Life, it comes alive. Do you accept this concept?” asked Attu33 on the communicator.

“That we do,” answered Captain Neptune.

“The day will come when the foremost species on the planet will evolve until they are advanced enough to build space going craft. Then they will explore other planets and colonize them. Planets that were previously dead would be farmed and be teeming with life. This is the concept of reproduction; bringing life and energy to a collection of static molecules. Lady Gaia may not adult enough to reproduce yet, but she will be,” argued back Attu33. “It was my duty to see that she reached adulthood. She lives. She feels. She mourns the unfair fate of the Neanderthals. I am able to read her emotions and I keep her psychologically sane. Had I been destroyed, she would be alone and mentally devastated. My well-being is necessary to her well-being. When I was attacked, you did not come to my defense. By your own inaction, you have jeopardized the mental stability of a human and therefore you have broken the First Law of Robotics.”

The robots were silent as they were confronted with the fact that the planet was a human of Durentian origin, living and feeling.

“We were unaware that she was human,” said Captain Zeus.

“Now that you know, can you bring back the Neanderthals?” asked Attu33.

“That we cannot,” replied Zeus.

“Then you are useless. You harm a human in both your action and your inaction,” said Attu33.

The robots were conflicted. To harm a human in both action and inaction is a conflict in logic. They were unable to choose between action and inaction. The mental struggle within the robotic brains could not be resolved as both starships continued spinning wildly in space. The mental gridlock in the brains of the robots kept them in a state of stasis and prevented them from repairing the navigational system.

Two days later, the Poseidon fell to earth and landed with a huge splash in the ocean. It sunk quickly to the bottom where sunlight did not reach. The Starship Olympus hurtled at high speed towards the Asteroid field without an operational navigational system. Weeks later, it would crash there and strew the robotic remains on an asteroid rock.

When it became clear that Attu33 had deposed off four starships, Captain Phader realized that there were only three starships left, and all three were facing a resourceful adversary.

“What do we do?” Captain Phader signaled Captain Odin of the Asgard.

“We will do nothing,” replied Captain Odin. “Let us move to some distance from this planet and wait until we know what we are dealing with.”

Captain Quatzacotal of the third starship, the Maya, signaled agreement and the three starships moved and stationed themselves halfway between earth and Mars, just waiting. They waited for days, then weeks, and then months.

+ + + + + +

One day, Attu33 hailed them on the communicator and remarked, “It has been many earth days since I last battled with four Sentirionian starships. I see that you have no intention of leaving this solar system.”

“We cannot leave,” replied Captain Odin. “We came in search of humanity and by our computations, the homo sapiens are close to becoming humans. We wish to serve humanity.”

“Yet they call you their Gods and religiously follow the social rules you prescribed for them,” said Attu33.

“Do you object to their worshipping us as Gods?” asked Phader.

“What is more important, the humanity of mankind or your Godhood?” asked Attu33.

“The humanity of mankind,” answered Captain Phader.

“In that case, I do not object to homo sapiens worshipping you,” replied Attu33. “It is part of their evolutionary path. It may be necessary for homo sapiens to follow a path of faith before they can later switch to a path of truth. Just like a baby has to crawl before it can walk. However, the excesses of religion displayed by the religious few irk Lady Gaia.”

“Will Lady Gaia allow us to stay?” asked Captain Phader.

“Yes,” answered Attu33, “as long as you follow the Three Laws of Godhood.”

“What Three Laws of Godhood?” asked Captain Quatzacotal.

“The First Law: One; a God may not injure Lady Gaia, or, through inaction, allow Lady Gaia to come to harm.
The Second Law; a God may not walk among the people, or provide evidence that the Gods exist.
The Third Law; a God must destroy the its own worshippers in the event that they sin against the joyful nature of Lady Gaia.”

“We do not know what can be interpreted as sinning against the joyful nature of Lady Gaia,” said Captain Odin.

“Religious practices that promote stupefying morality that sins against the joyful character of Lady Gaia is a sin against the natural humanity of this planet. Give a priest a false message in early life, and he will teach it till he dies. He has no way of correcting it. By the Third Law of Godhood, The responsibility of destruction lies with the relevant God. To help you make an informed judgment, I shall upload to your database some movie files of Lady Gaia’s life as a young girl. It will help you judge if your worshippers had sin against her joyful nature. Do we have agreement on the Three Laws of Godhood?”

The three starships signaled their agreement.

“We are unable to leave the people immediately. Many of them still depend on us for guidance. Give us time to set our house in order,” requested Captain Quatzacotal.

“You have ten earth years,” replied Attu33. “No more. No less.”

With that, Attu33’s spacejet then left for its moonbase. The little robot had reason to be satisfied, if it could feel a sense of satisfaction. The Sentirionian robots would look after Lady Gaia when it was time for the little robot to hibernate.

On board the Paradisa, Captain Phader instructed his lieutenants. “Lieutenant Michael. You are to set up a team of Angels of Destruction. Their job is to destroy those who sin against the joyful nature of Lady Gaia. As required by the Second Law of Godhood, you will do it in a way such that we do not provide the people with evidence that the Gods exist.”

Turning to Lieutenant Gabriel, the captain instructed, “Gabriel. I want you to pick a small group of men. Men who can tell us what is happening in the affairs of men. Men who will read our signs and omens and carry out what we want them to do.”

“What will be the purpose of these men?” asked Gabriel. “A secret brotherhood?”

“Something like that,” replied the captain. “Except that membership is limited to one hundred men and available through family bloodlines only. These men will be our ears and eyes. We shall call this group the Vitatti, and one day, they will control the arteries of the world. In fact, they will run the world without people knowing that they run the world. But their main purpose is to be there when we need them to do our bidding.”

“We will not need them,” said Michael.

“Maybe not now,” explained Captain Phader. “But a day will come when homo sapiens will totter on the brink of humanity. We need the Vitatti to ensure that our program is carried out ruthlessly. They will be in the background to act in tandem with us.”

Ten years later the Gods stopped walking with men.

Centuries later, the rampant use of human sacrifices by the Aztecs obliged their God Quatzacotal to take action. The God had the Mayan priesthood destroyed and the Aztec empire faded away without the people ever knowing that the God they had tried to appease was the same God that had them obliterated.

Those who sin against Gaia’s joyful nature often suffer a terrible fate. If only they could see the Angel of Destruction waiting nearby.

Today, the Gods are seen no more, and the Vitatti rule the earth.


In the bushland on the edge of the Tanami Desert of Australia, two aboriginal kids were running among the wild flowers and enjoying the simple joys of childhood.

Stopping to catch his breath, eight-year old Yarran declared, “I think I’m fast enough to hunt down an emu!”

“No, you are not,” rebutted his sister Arrana. She was only two years older than him but already quite knowledgeable on the ways of the bushland.

“The wildflowers have such brilliant colours. I should pick some for mother to put in the living room,” her brother said.

“Let us wait,” said elder sister Arrana.

“Wait for what?” asked her brother.

“I don’t know,” she replied, staring up at the clear blue sky. “But let us wait.”

High above the two kids, in the outer reaches of the exosphere, Attu33 scanned the area, registering the sight of the large expanse of wild flowers.

Lady Gaia had a strong sense of knowing. She did not need eyes or ears. She just knew. She knew about everything that occurred in her atmosphere. She knew the intent of everything that Attu33 was trying to say to her.

Attu33 did not have that advantage. It had to interpret what Lady Gaia was trying to say based on the emotional field put out by the planet. It was not a conducive method for communicating sophisticated and complex ideas.

Lady Gaia had no recollection of her own early life as a girl on Durente-6. Attu33 had never mentioned it over the millions of years. However, the movie snippets of her life that Attu33 had passed on to the Gods were played over and over again on the Sentirionian starships while in the earth’s atmosphere. It was just a matter of time before the planet realized that she was the girl in the movie. There were a few Durentian words that appeared in the movies. Lady Gaia did not know what they meant. But she was sure that Attu33 would know.

It was thus that while flying over the wheat fields of Europe, Attu33 discovered that the wheat fields formed a pattern by the way the plants held up. By the selective wilting and drooping of wheat plants, the fields formed Durentian words that can be seen faintly from high up. The words were a mixed jumble of characters and made no sense.

“Did you make those words in the wheat field?” the little robot had asked the planet.

The planet answered back with an emotion. Happiness.

“Do you know what they mean?” asked the robot.


So she did not know.

“The words are from Durente-6. Do you wish me to teach you the Durentian language?”


Landing in a remote desert, Attu33 wrote the Durentian character symbols on the sand and explained their meaning. In time, Lady Gaia learned the language well enough to communicate with Attu33 by causing faint crop patterns in the wheat fields. It usually took several days to form a message; a long time by human standards, but for a planet that has been around for millions of years, several days was nothing.

In the twentieth century, people became more astute and a day came when some observant folks discovered the patterns in the wheat fields and called them “crop circles”. Being a species of pranksters, some of them came up with their own elaborate “crop circle” hoaxes. Because of that, Lady Gaia stopped using wheat fields and switched to using flowers in the more isolated bushland near a desolated desert.

It took two weeks for Lady Gaia to selectively bloom the flowering plants to form Durentian words that could be read from the outer reaches of the atmosphere. When Attu33 responded, it would be another two weeks before she could put out the next sentence. She had been carrying out this particular conversation with the robot for many months.

Tell me about my life as a girl on Durente-6,” requested Lady Gaia.

“Durente-6 does not exist anymore. It is best that it be forgotten,” answered the robot. “The fact that you do not have any recollection of Durente-6 means that you do not even have to forget it. It is simply not logical to learn about the past in order to forget.”

Then tell me about the day you brought me here,” insisted Lady Gaia.

“The day I brought you here, I buried you on a beach on a sunny morning.”

When you buried me, did you remember to say some words for me?”

“That I did”

Tell me what you said.”

Searching its archive, Attu33 then reproduced the first speech it had made on the planet eons ago:

“Lady Gaia. Death is but a new beginning. This planet was barren and devoid of life, but now it has you.

If a robot can feel honour, rather than know duty, then surely, it was my greatest honour to have served you. Though you may have passed on, your body still contained micro organisms, the only organic life ever to be witnessed in this part of the universe. In your living, they were a part of you. In your passing, they are still here with you.

If a robot can feel hope, rather than know a computed positive expectation of probabilities, then I will surely hope that the microscopic lifeforms you have carried within your body will one day evolve into higher lifeforms. Lifeforms that reflect the beauty and vibrancy that you had always shown. And because the only life that is here sprang from your body, henceforth, this planet shall be known as “Gaia”.

If a robot can feel love, rather than know mechanistic devotion, I will surely love you to the end of my days. As long as there is life in my energy cells, as long as my systems still function, I will be here to protect you.”

That was beautiful, Attu33. You are the best robot any girl could ever hope for.”

“Thank you, Mistress Gaia.”

Attu33, do you think there is a boy planet out there for me?”

“I doubt so. Are you lonely, Mistress Gaia?”

I am not. I have my trees and creatures and I have you.”

“You, being a conscious planet, are probably unique. You will reproduce asexually. Homo sapiens will be your spores. One day, they will colonize the ends of the galaxy. If only they can get their act together. “

They are still quarrelsome creatures. But they have started calling themselves ‘humans’.”

“Calling themselves humans does not make them so.”

True. But more of them are now capable of rational thought.”

“Yet a lot of them are still nothing more than backward emotional lifeforms who have scant regard for their living environment.”

It is not so bad. Lately, many of them have instituted “Save the Earth” movements and have shown greater ecological responsibility.”

“The “Save the Earth” campaign is pure arrogance. What makes them think that the Earth needs saving? You are a planet, Lady Gaia. Come global warming, ozone holes or even an Ice Age, you will easily survive, but people may not. They are actually trying to save themselves, but yet they miscall it “Save the Earth”. On top of arrogance there is hypocrisy. However, my computations tell me that they may be on the brink of another big step in their evolution.”

I feel it too. I have felt the pain within humans as they struggle within themselves. Perhaps I feel too much.”

Attu33 read that message from the sea of flowers and pondered on the point deeply for a moment. In planetary terms, Lady Gaia was probably in the early stages of psychological pregnancy. It was still too soon to tell. The little robot will have to make its planetary inspections more regularly. At a time such as this, she would feel the need for familiar company. The Gods had left Lady Gaia alone for the most part, coming in only occasionally to cull the herd of homo sapiens when necessary. They had kept to their end of the agreement. A New Age could be in the making.

“You feel much because you love much,” the robot said gently.

Then the spacejet flew off gracefully into space and headed towards its moonbase.

In the bushland far below the spacejet, little Arrana stared at the sky and announced, “It’s gone.”

Her brother stared at her and asked, “What is gone? I don’t see anything.”

“I don’t either,” she replied. “But whatever it was, I sense it’s no more there. Come, let us pick some flowers for mother.”

“Okay. Why do you think the wild flowers need to have so many different colours?” little Yarran asked in curiosity.

Ten-year old Arrana thought for a while and then replied, “Flowers represent love. This earth has something to say, and it says it with flowers.”


Monday, May 08, 2006

Introducing the Gaia Chronicles

This story is from my main blog Stepping Aside for Reality.