Scientific Ethics Class
3rd Grade, 5th Period
Salik ambles to his desk, tapping the holographic display.
“Alright class settle down, settle down."
He taps on his desk again and the display changes to show the galaxy. "As you’ve learned in your previous class space is relatively flat."
"For years we puzzled over the problem of mass. There just isn’t enough to account for the structure". The holographic image changes to reveal the dark gaps in space between matter.
Salik points at the dark regions. A paper airplane soars through display just missing his finger. He turns and gives a stern look over the class. “We only have three more ticks and class is over, so please behave.” Several children straighten up.
Salik looks into space for a moment, "where was I?” Finding his concentration he begins again with renewed energy, “oh yes, back when we were a little less informed we believed in some mystical dark matter that effected the structure of space."
A couple students snicker.
He smiles "yes, yes it is pretty funny." Salik sits down. "Who can tell me what happened to all that missing matter?" Hands tentatively start to go up. Salik points out a student in the back. "Yes Marok".
Marok stands "it was destroyed."
Salik smiles. "Yes, to a degree it was destroyed, but how can we describe the process better?" Salik points out another student.
This student stands. "It was devoured?"
"By what class?"
In unison, the class answers "a vacuum energy explosion."
Salik sits down on the edge of his desk, "yes, every one of the dark regions represents,” he pauses “an accident." He shifts to face the projection, "Some unfortunate cultures discovered and made the mistake of trying to tap this energy source and in the process destroyed themselves and millions of light years of space consuming an untold number of other cultures."
Sule raises her hand.
"Yes, Sule" Salik says.
"Why did so many try it, didn't anybody warn them?"
Some of the other students laugh. Salik gives them a warning glance and looks to the clock on the wall. He turns and smiles. Putting Sule at ease, "that is a very good question." Salik makes a gesture with his hand and the display zooms in on a dark region. "The distance and time it would take to send an artificial message makes it impossible to send a warning."
"Now we, being a race particularly sensitive to psychic waves, can communicate over great distances with races who have this talent." Salik says, "This communication is still sketchy at best." He looks comforting at Sule and then to the rest of the class, "rest assured any race that we can speak with gets a warning." Sule and several other students look a little more relieved.
Sule raises her hand again. "Yes, Sule".
"How did we get a warning?" Sule asks innocently.
He sinks behind his desk, looking past the class, as if just lost in thought. He changes the projection to a different dark region. "We call this the Awakening Expanse."
A more surely student raises his hand, "Professor,"
Salik is relieved to have been distracted "yes."
The student continues egged on by his friends "Why is there a ban on this experimentation? Surely, as advanced as we are scientifically we can handle it?" His friends chuckle.
Salik shakes his head and looks disappointed at the student. "We must never be so arrogant to think that!" Salik stops and looks apologetic, "I'm sorry class." He stands and looks around the room, "you are very young and have become numb to it, but we, the older generation haven’t."
Salik looks at the display, “In the center of the Awaking Expanse was a small planet called Earth. The race that occupied this planet, even if they didn’t know it, was particularly talented at broadcasting their psychic waves.” Salik looks down and takes a deep breath, “you see class, we will never experiment with vacuum energy, because we can still hear their screaming in our dreams!"
The bell rings.
Copyright: © 2009 Chris Keaton
Copyright: © 2009 Chris Keaton
----------------------------------Chris Keaton is an aspiring screenwriter that occasionally dips his toes in flash fiction pool. You can see his film work and other musings at www.chris-keaton.com