'All stand for Their Majesty, Ruler of the Seven Continents, Sovereign of the Three Moons, Protector of Freedom, Emperor Kĥalɨd, the fourth of this name!’
Fanfares resounded and all hundred forty-four Senators (what an unusual attendance!) rose from their seats as the Emperor entered the Senate Plenary Hall, followed by a dozen generals. Well, “crawled into” might have been a better word to describe it, but since that was the ordinary for their species, I guess just “entered” is fine. The point is, even though for humans it might have looked sluggish and repulsive, for mendrɨans the whole scene looked ultimately royal and dignified as fuck. The Sovereign Senate doesn’t invite the Emperor that often. Whatever is happening, is gonna be huge.
‘My dear Senators’, started the Emperor after reaching the podium, ‘this war is unwinnable’. There was a loud gasp. Even though they knew that the immense power of their Empire is nothing compared to what the invaders from Earth can unleash, they were still holding on to their hope. Does it mean there’s officially no hope anymore?
Kĥalɨd continued: ‘but if we don’t win it, our entire species will perish, our Beloved Planet and its Three Moons will be destroyed to pieces. So we cannot lose it. It’s unwinnable, but we have to win it.’
Their voice started shaking. ‘What the fuck do we do?’, they cried.
The silence in the Plenary Hall was deafening. No-one has ever seen the Emperor lose their image of a strong, powerful leader, not even for a second. And how they seemed ready to burst into tears.
No-one dared to speak. No-one had a good solution. When you are faced with the arsenal and the technology of a species that has managed to find you on the other side of the galaxy, to travel thousands of light years, and to destroy an entire continent on your home planet with a single bomb, while you have only just managed to colonise your Three Moons recently, you’re basically fucked. No idea is a good idea.
‘I have an idea’, said one of the Senators once they stood up. It took him a while to decide, whether it’s even worth mentioning, or actually, if it’s safe to even mention it. But eventually they did stand up and speak up. He’s gonna be dead soon anyway, they all are. No better time to get desperate.
‘It’s crazy, it’s dangerous, it’s disastrous, it’s desperate, but it’s still better than the alternative. Please, Your Majesty, please, fellow Senators, please, honorable Generals, please hear me out in full before beheading me for putting out this outrageous proposal.’
Kĥalɨd nodded quietly.
‘The threat that we are facing now are the despicable Earthlings, who think they can treat us like vermin. Their weapon against us is their technology. We absolutely cannot compete with them in this field. Our technology might be great, it might be a marvel of the mendrɨankind, and yet it’s still inferior to theirs...’
‘Except...’, they said and they hesitated, if they still want to continue... Screw it, they’re all screwed anyway.
‘Except for one piece of technology that me have achieved and they have not. Time travel.’
He expected a loud indignation, screams, shouts, and possibly even a lynch. But everyone was either loyal to the promise to hear him out, or simply too shocked to do anything.
‘As we all know, since the Great Tĥarren of Rɨɨnø invented their Time Machine four hundred years ago, it has only been used once. Great Tĥarren used it themselves to travel just eight days back into the past in order to prevent a deadly disaster in the thermonuclear power plant of Ikkonu. He failed miserably, because of the inherit rules of the Universe. The Law of Immense Reaction.’
(Or how humans call it: the butterfly effect.)
‘The Ikkonu power plant is still standing today and none of its thousands of employees has been harmed, but Tĥarren’s mission is considered a horrible failure nonetheless. Maybe their very presence in Ikkonu, maybe some of their words, maybe just what they had for dinner instead what they had had in the original timeline – some petty detail has triggered a series of unfortunate events that eventually led to the horrible tragedy which was the Civil War. Millions and millions of mendrɨans died a horrible death from hands of each other, making it the greatest tragedy in the entire history of mendrɨankind.’
The Senate kept silent.
‘Great Tĥarren has lost the love of their life in this war, which eventually led them to commit suicide. They knew that the eight days they traveled back hadn’t even passed again yet. The war wasn’t always meant to be. It wouldn’t had happened, if he had stayed in the present. They told their story to warn the rest of us from ever repeating the mistake of time travel, and then took their life.’
‘We’ve passed this story from generation to generation and never ever dared to travel in time again. Even officially proposing to the Senate to use the Tĥarren’s Time Machine is an offence punishable by death. But I’m ready to suffer the consequences, if that’s the way to save our planet.’
Emperor Kĥalɨd didn’t seem angry at their Senator for breaking the law. He actually looked... hopeful?
‘If we did decide to risk a possible destruction of our Empire by the consequences of time travel, against the certain destruction from the hands of those damn Earthlings, what would our plan be? How exactly could time travel save us, Senator?’
‘I don’t know exactly yet, Your Majesty, it’s not an idea that I’ve ever entertained before this Emergency Meeting. But the main point is: now we might be less advanced than the Earthlings are, but we’re way more advanced than they were three thousand years ago. We could use that to our advantage. Maybe Your Majesty’s intelligence has some reliable intel about the Earthlings’ history, weak spots of their species, etc.’
One of the Generals stood up. ‘This is a top secret knowledge, but with Your Majesty’s permission, I’d like to share it with the members of the Senate in this time of crisis’.
The Emperor nodded.
‘We do, indeed, have plenty of intel about their past. We are able to pinpoint the exact point in time, where adding just a little bit of confusion and misinformation could lead them to basically destroy their own planet before they were even able to leave it in bigger numbers and save their species.’
A surprisingly cheerful murmur made a round among the Senators. Those monsters have a weak spot after all! Not all hope is lost!
The General continued: ‘They narrowly escaped an utter destruction after they had been exploiting the natural resources of their planet to its limit, producing tons and tons of carbon dioxide and other substances that are toxic for them, for their atmosphere and disastrous for their climate. They were facing horrible hurricanes, fires, floods, food shortage, etc. etc. All we need is to go back to that decisive moment and convince them not to care, to carry on and just hope for the best, or even not to even believe that the whole threat is real.’
Somebody started clapping. Somebody started cheering. Soon the entire Hall was loud and visibly hopeful.
‘ORDER!’, thundered the Emperor. ‘Let’s have a plan ready first, before we start celebrating having a plan.’
The Senator who proposed it realised that they aren’t getting beheaded today. They have the Senate on their side. So they started questioning their own plan now...
‘Is this enough?’, they asked the General. ‘Shouldn’t we have more ways to harm them, just in case this one doesn’t work out? We won’t get a second change at it.’
The General didn’t seem worried. ‘Oh, trust me, Honorable Senator, those monsters might be invincible monsters now, but they have had plenty of problems in their past. For instance, the only reason they’re even still alive today is a method of protection against diseases that they call “vaccination”. Never mind the details, but if we just convince enough humans that they don’t really work, or that they are a scam, or that they have some bullshit side-effects, they’ll start dropping in numbers faster than the asteroids fall on our Second Moon.’
‘They weren’t always as united as a species as they are today, either. They used to have those things that they called “countries”, that basically divided them into arbitrary groups who hated each other for no reason. Also, they come in different colours of the skin, which apparently used to be a valid reason to hate and kill each other for centuries. All we need is to make them keep doing it.’
‘What more is there...? Oh, this. Their technological advancement wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t properly funded. And it was only funded so well because they could afford it by taxing the rich, which led them to more social justice, less poverty, and more money for things that actually benefit them as a species.’
‘Their science also had to be supported by the majority to be successful. It could only happen because they finally rejected most of their primitive superstitions they called “religions” and decided to look at science foranswers.’
‘We just need to stop their progress, that’s it, and they’ll finish themselves off. Let’s make them disregard their environment, their science, their reason. Let’s feed their hatred towards each other, let’s spread the differences between them. If all goes well, we won’t even have to fight the Earthlings. There will be no Earthlings.’
A storm of applause has passed around the Plenary Hall. The Emperor had to silence it again. One Senator stood up and asked: ‘but how do we even get there?’.
A different General stood up this time and answered: ‘again, it was a top secret military operation, but with your permission, Majesty...’ – the Emperor nodded again – ‘Last week the Royal Army has successfully taken over one of the enemy’s spaceships. It is fully operational and able to travel back to Earth.’
The Senator, who originally proposed time travel, stood up again and asked: ‘Will the Tĥarren’s Time Machine fit inside? Does it mean our troops can travel to Earth, perform the travel to the past over there, and possibly limit the consequences of The Law of Immense Reaction to their planet? Does it mean that the only part of our timeline that will get destroyed would be the part between the Earthling’s invasion and now? Will we just live as usual until the moment of invasion, then we won’t notice that it was supposed to happen in the original timeline, and then continue to live our happy lives?’
The General wasn’t sure what to say. ‘For obvious reasons, not only haven’t we studied time travel enough to know that for sure, we didn’t study it at all. Who knows what’s gonna happen? It will be a very risky operation, whatever we do. Worst case scenario: our entire existence will be wiped out. On the other hand, if we do nothing, or continue to fight a conventional war, the same will happen, except inevitably.’
The silence was piercing the ears of everyone in the Plenary Hall. It was unbearable, scary, heavy. They knew it will be the hardest decision they have ever and will have ever taken.
‘This will be the hardest decision of your lives’, said Emperor Kĥalɨd finally. ‘But we have to make it as soon as possible. I’ll leave the details to be worked out by the General Staff of my Royal Army, but the decision whether or not we do it at all lies entirely on the People’s Senate.’
They sat in their throne and left the podium to the Speaker of the Senate, who slowly approached it, cleared their throat and said load and clear:
‘The most Honorable Senate of the People of Mendrɨa and its Three Moons is being asked by Their Majesty, Ruler of the Seven Continents, Sovereign of the Three Moons, Protector of Freedom, Emperor Kĥalɨd, the fourth of this name, to vote on whether Their Royal Army should proceed to strive to save our Empire from the most atrocious invasion by the monsters from Earth, by using the Time Machine of the Great Tĥarren of Rɨɨnø, despite the chance of The Law of Immense Reaction possibly hurting us in unpredictable ways. All those in favour, say “aye” and raise your tail.’
Tails didn’t even have to be counted.
It’s official. It’s the end of humankind.