Originally published online September 1, 2015
Just because something doesn’t make sense to us doesn’t make it completely senseless.
A spaceship hovered behind Earth’s moon, unseen. Inside, an alien scientist bowed towards his superior before addressing her telepathically: “My Queen, I have the results of our latest examinations.”
The alien queen would have yawned, but she didn’t have a mouth like humans do. Instead, she slowly turned her head towards the scientist and replied, also without words: “Good. Are the results as we feared?”
Despite not having many facial features, only eyes and a slit for breathing, the scientist appeared nervous and fidgeted his tentacles for a moment before answering: “I am afraid so, Your Highness. The brains possessed by these self-described ‘humans’ appear to contain a vast capability for knowledge and learning. It is estimated that they will achieve interstellar travel and become a threat to the greater Galaxy within ten generations.”
The unfortunate news roused the Queen to attention. She glared at the scientist with her four eyes and asked: “Of this we are certain?”
The scientist straightened up before answering: “Yes, your Highness. We came to this conclusion based on examining members of the population that are considered by their peers to be less intelligent. It has been extrapolated that the intellectual and mental capacity of the more learned members of the species must be incredible.”
The Queen closed her eyes and raised a tentacle to her head to rub it. What could have been a sigh escaped her breathing slit. “We have been tasked with keeping these ‘humans’ confined to their solar system until their society has advanced to a point where they can be offered a place on the Interstellar Council.” She pondered. “Only after they have overcome the primal urges to wage wars and mistreat their fellow beings will they be considered. Unfortunately, their pace of technological advancement is rapidly outpacing their social learning as a species.”
“Indeed, Your Highness. Some of our more pessimistic scientists are predicting that these ‘humans’ will destroy themselves and much of the life on their planet in an atomic war.” The scientist agreed.
“A pity we cannot make our presence known. Damned be the Oath of Non-Interference.” The Queen sulked.
“We too wish to save these humans and their world, Your Highness. We have pondered a way to impede their progress without violating the Oath. A possible solution exists that would require minimal interference on our part.”
The Queen’s eyes widened. “Indeed! Tell me of this plan.” She asked, intrigued.
“Of course, your Highness. Despite their potential, human minds are currently free for us to manipulate with our mental abilities. As an example, we are able to make our specimens forget the time they have spent in our laboratories. A few stronger-minded individuals are able to recall fleeting images, but those memories are dismissed as insane ramblings by more learned humans. Thus, our incursions to the planet have remained unnoticed thus far.”
“We propose to send covert agents to the planet. These agents will gently persuade industry and government leaders to implement policies that serve no purpose other than to consume time and resources. Thus, the humans’ industrial and scientific progress will be slowed down, allowing them additional time to outgrow their savage tendencies before reaching the stars.”
The Queen paused for a moment before asking: “An intriguing proposal. What sorts of policies?”
The following Monday, Jeremiah Pear, Jr., CEO of Pear and Son, walked through the halls of his company, smiling and greeting his workers as he went. He stopped before the heavy wooden double-doors of the executive meeting room to adjust his tie and take a deep breath before entering. The executive pulled both doors open and marched into the room towards his seat at the head of the meeting table. The room fell silent. A few sighs came from the executives; they had grown accustomed to their leader’s penchant for drama.
“Good morning, gentlemen!” He exclaimed. “I have some exciting news for you. I have formulated an action plan that will thrust our organization headlong into the twenty-first century!” He paused for effect; the executives seated around the table silently nodded their heads in agreement.
“We must increase synergy between our various interoperating departments, gather metrics, separate them into business units and regions, and incorporate them into our decision making processes. In doing so, we will maximize global-wide efficacy. It is a win-win double-good scenario for all involved.”
Jeremiah stopped and waited for a response. He received none except for silence and blank stares.
One executive finally spoke: “I have no idea what you just said, Jeremiah. Synergy? Efficacy? Metrics? What are those things?”
The CEO placed a hand to his chin, stared off into space, and thought for a moment before answering: “You know, I’m not one hundred percent sure myself. Everything I told you just popped into my head over the weekend, and I am convinced that we need all those things in order to stay ahead of the competition!
I need everyone to schedule department meetings at once so we can get started! That reminds me! We also need to hold more meetings! Monthly meetings! Weekly meetings! Daily meetings! Meetings to discuss metrics and efficacy! Let’s make it happen, people!”
More sighs followed.