Daily Snippits: Science Fiction (Blackguards and Plaster Saints)

‘Verse: Blackguards and Plaster Saints
Length/Rating: 611 words, PG, Gen
Pairings/Warnings: None
Summary: When the ship left, four Advisors remained behind.

When the ship left, four Advisors remained behind.

The Fleet had learned, through long experience, that simply providing the information wasn’t enough. Before we could begin building, we had to know how to build. In our case it was like handing a toddler engineering and physics books and expecting them to build a supercollider. The Fleet knew they had to provide understanding as well as knowledge, so they left us teachers.

The Advisors were alien, but not so alien that they’d trip our primal lizard brains from wariness to fear. Roughly humanoid and roughly mammal, they were ‘odd’ not ‘wrong’ and after a few years they went from ‘odd’ to simply ‘there’.

For the first few days there was a lot of bickering over who ‘owned’ the Advisers, and abortive attempts were made to restrict access (both to them and to the outside world). Which could have gone very badly wrong, but the Advisors were patent and polite, and simply disassembled any attempts to contain them. They had been sent to advise the world, and they repeated this in hundred of languages and thousands of iterations, until the world governments listened.

Which didn’t mean they weren’t still trying to kidnap them or kill them off, they just had a much higher expectation of failure.

The Advisors built themselves an island in the middle of the ocean, and setup their council halls on the new neutral ground. This lessened the attacks, somewhat, but eliminated the collateral damage.

There were a lot of jokes about the ‘Fortress of Solitude’ and ‘Evil Alien Overlords’, but there were a lot of things that weren’t jokes as well. The Earth had never had a real world government, and it wasn’t about to start now. War or no war.

But the Advisors never dictated what should be done, they simply suggested. They provided the world with blueprints, timetables, a global set of instructions on how to survive the coming war. They showed us how to learn, and why, and when, and basically led us along like the ADHD five-year olds we were. We resented them, sure, but we ate our vegetables anyway because we knew they were probably right. That and dessert was a spaceship the size of Australia and if that wasn’t worth a little broccoli now and then, what was?

The four Advisors were as different from each other as they were to us.

One Adviser was Gestalt, who reached out across the globe and melded minds with scientists and engineers. An infectious parasite, beneficial to the host, he was a tiny taste of Godhood. His hosts were prone to talking to themselves, easily lost in the constant conversation of the group.

Mender was the anthropologist, sociologist, diplomat who soothed ruffled feathers and made everything seem reasonable. With no solid gender, and no solid form, he/she molded itself to fit the occasion. A living mood ring, she reflected and refracted emotions with an uncanny skill. After Gestalt, she was the target of most assassination attempts.

Teacher was just that, adept at finding just the right way to unfold a concept into something they could understand. He taught the teachers, who taught others, who taught others, in a pyramid of learning. It was under his guidance that the educational system was rebuilt, globalized, that every available scrap of manpower was careful nurtured into position.

The last was called a thousand variations of ‘God’s Sorrow’, and no one asked what he did or what had happened to those who’d rather see the world destroyed than suffer alien infestation. Because the Fleet had learned long hard lessons on other planets, and they would not see another planet burn.

 

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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