“Students”, said the Tutor, “I know all of you have been very eagerly waiting for the lecture by our very distinguished guest today. Professor, please.” The class of twenty-year-old history students diligently burst into applause as the guest of honour took the stage.
Professor looked at the hundred something identical student faces sitting in front of him. He cleared his throat.
“We had been searching for a new hospitable planet for over seven years by the time we found what the media dubbed Tiny Blue.”, Professor began with no prelude, “Compared to the planet on which all of us were born, this one was just a fraction of the size, but the environment was favourable. There would be almost no need for an extensive, expensive and planet-wide transformation. Our beloved mother planet was dying fast, it was our fault, we knew, and Tiny Blue offered a sliver of hope.
We studied the planet for a few months at close range. The dominant species was an anisogamous bipedal like we were. They seemed to be in the early explorative stage of development that every sentient species go through. We had come across enough life forms in the seven years of searching to have an idea of how it works, random chance gives one particular species an unfair advantage, they develop, explore their planet, start exploring other planets, manage to destroy their own planet in the process and then desperately search for a new homeworld to survive on. The mistakes were the same Universe-wide.”
Professor interrupted himself to get a glass of water. The students were listening attentively, he saw with satisfaction.
“We tried the peaceful methods.”, he continued after a sip, “We sent them an envoy of our best translators to start a conversation, the messenger was cut up and their organs studied under lenses. We tried to beam down signals in their visible spectrum of light to state we come in peace, they responded with shooting explosive projectiles at us. We were under no obligation to share the planet we discovered, and it was small enough as it was. We decided to flush out the aliens. We needed the planet. Blood before water.
The fighting lasted exactly eleven minutes and thirty-seven seconds. We were vastly superior with our planet-scale weaponry and fine control lasers. It was a messy business exterminating over seven billion beings, and they had an exceptional amount of red fluid inside them. It took us over a week to clean up and dispose of the bodies, another to raze their primaeval cities to the ground. We did preserve their knowledge base for future analysis, in form of their version of a primitive connective network called the Internet and scribbles on modified plants called books. We learned that they called the planet “Earth”. We adopted the name. Earth became our second home.”
Professor took another sip of water. The oxygen levels on the planet were more than back on the mother planet, and that meant a boosted metabolism. He needed the water. The students sat in rapt attention, some taking down notes.
“The problems started about a month after we started settling. There were a still a few of the original earthlings left, our weapons weren’t a one hundred per cent effective. Like an itch, they persisted but gave us almost no trouble, other than shooting harmless projectiles at an occasional passing vehicle, before scurrying back to their holes. The real trouble came from something much smaller. Microscopic beings called Bacteria. They were everywhere, could easily penetrate the most
impenetrable of our shields, enter our body and destroy our bodies inside out. We had seen nothing like it, and it was killing all of us, faster and faster.
The solution was not obvious. Our machines went through the information stored by the original Earthlings, and we learned about antigens and antibodies. But it was impossible to adopt the same to our bodies without risking it itself killing us. Time was running out fast. We were faced with the prospect of having left a dying planet only to die on another planet.”
Professor paused for a dramatic effect and had another sip of water before continuing.
“We gathered all the remaining original Earthlings. Suddenly they had become a way out of our dilemma. The solution was radical, but it would be effective, and survival was more important than a few queasy morals. We were going to use their bodies. Their natural, adapted-to-their-world- bodies, we would use it to store our consciousness in. It would effectively be the fastest step in the evolution of our species; we as a species were going to move into alien bodies.”
Professor looked at all the human faces staring up at him. They were indistinguishable from one another. They were the same species now, he told himself. No matter how they looked different on the outside, inside they were all the same, he reassured himself. Yet he couldn’t yet not feel a deep-rooted contempt for the way they looked. So very human. He wasn’t entirely sure why the Queen decided history lessons were important. If it were up to him, he’d erase this particular past.
“And kids, that’s how I met your mother.”, The Professor chuckled. Mother was a human concept, but it seemed apt here. “She was one of the original Earthlings and was one of the seventeen to survive our selection process. We cloned her in millions, and upgraded the clones with our consciousness, with the Skaari intellect. A few of us, like me, chose to retain our bodies though, for ethical reasons. And that’s why all of you look so much alike, and me so very different, in case you have ever wondered. You all are descendant from her and her clones. We the original Skaari will be soon gone, our bodies withered and lost to memory. You, the ultimate perfect blend of Skaari intellect and Human body, are the future. The Earth belongs to you now, as much as it used to belong to the Earthlings and to the Skaari after them. You are the Earthlings now, and Earth is now your mother. Protect her.”
There was wild applause.