David SimsFiction

Until the Last Star in the Universe Ceases to Shine

by David Sims

“UNTIL the last star in the universe ceases to shine.”

Those words are emblematic of Brenda Lynn Jones’ promise to the Life of Earth and to her own race. It comes from an address she made, as Empress of the Solar System Empire, to the United Nations of Earth in the early twenty-second century. The following text is from a repeat of that address by the Imperial Diplomatic Attache.

THE EMPRESS has been challenged repeatedly via diplomatic channels over her racial criteria for SSE citizenship. Her Imperial Majesty offers this, and only this, explanation to all challengers:

The Empress is White and intends that the part of humanity that shall populate the Milky Way Galaxy, and every other galaxy to which she can send it, shall be not less than ninety percent racially White. Although humanity will have a different evolution going forward on every planet that it colonizes, it shall always begin as the best that the White race could produce within the ambit of its native Sun. Every power possessed by the Solar System Empire, as well as the powers of the Empress herself, will have, as their highest use, the preservation and improvement of the White race, and then the preservation of the non-human Life of Earth. So it shall be, until the last star in the universe ceases to shine.

During the decade following that address, the Empire and Earth were sharply at odds on the matter of who owns the massive bodies of the Solar System and on the matter of who has the right to travel between and among those bodies.

When it appeared that an interplanetary nuclear war might begin, Empress Jones ordered the launch of ten thousand missiles to graze the top of Earth’s atmosphere and then travel on to converge in a part of space about three hundred thousand kilometers distant, where they simultaneously exploded, spelling out the words “TRY ME” in every part of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to gamma rays.

The Empress then informed Earth that she had spent less than one thousandth of the Empire’s nuclear arsenal on that demonstration, and then went on to point out the Empire’s tactical advantages, such as having its major assets mobile (not sitting ducks like Earth’s industrial centers), such as having the ability to destroy any missiles launched from Earth before they even got out of the atmosphere, such as being able to shoot down the gravity well, rather than having to shoot up-and-out of it, and so on. Earth backed down and has never challenged the Empire again.

And whatever could the powers of Earth do with the resources of the Solar System as well as what the Empire, itself, does with them? Earth’s industry is money-based and politically circumscribed. If either the money or the political will isn’t there, then Earth can’t perform.

The Empire isn’t like that. Anything Earth can make or do, the Empire can make or do better, faster, without any parasitical corporations playing games with delays and cost-overruns. There are things the Empire can make or do that Earth can’t make or do at all. And no one at all, ever, has the creative genius that Empress Brenda Jones can bring to an engineering project.

While Earth labors to build and launch into low Earth orbit a space telescope of twelve meters diameter, the Empire can, in less time, build and begin operating two interferometric space telescopes with effective diameters of twelve kilometers in the L4 and L5 points of Uranus’ orbit. While Earth develops a new rocket for carrying a payload to low Earth orbit, the Empire builds a fleet of spacecraft capable of flying to the planetary systems of other stars at a cruising speed of 0.07c. While Earth’s nations, in a combined effort, create one clunky space station with a habitation area the size of a house and no spin-gravity, the Empire creates thousands of space stations, each with a habitation area the size of a county which has ten meters per second squared of spin-gravity, not to mention a biosphere, real weather, and exquisite landscaping.

If the Earth wants scientific data on the other planets of the Solar System, they need only ask for it, and it will be provided to them without charge. There is no reason for them to impose costs on their taxpayers, hazard on their astronauts, or contention between their political factions. Were the Empire to allow it, they might, perhaps, visit Mars and bring back to Earth a bag of rocks — and spend about fifty billion dollars doing it. The Empire can deliver to them a cube of strata from Mars, a hundred meters on a side and massing three billion kilograms, without any appreciable difficulty.

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