BY NORMAN ARKAWY AND
We bid you welcome, Earthmen!
Take your rightful place
beside us, share our peaceful
existence. By your endless
struggles you have earned it.
[Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
Worlds of If Science Fiction, October 1954.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]
Peace Communique No 1.—Abilene—April 1, 2049
The war is over. Iverson is safely exiled on asteroid 14, and the otherleaders of the aggressor forces—Cartwright, Briande, Remberg, Kiangand Risofsky—are all in confinement on their respective space islands.Peace has been restored to the system: on Rios and on Nwad.
(signed) SER GULLA
PIE Rios No. 1-1-1
10 APR 49 RT
REPORT TO THE PEOPLE OF RIOS
On March 29, 2049 (Rios Time), the Rios-Nwadian war ended.
This report on the recent conflict has been prepared by the Bureauof Public Information and Education, Rios Branch, for the purpose ofenlightening the inhabitants of Rios about the War, its causes, and theproposed policy of the Nwadian government concerning the administrationof your planet.
In order to provide for full understanding by the people of Rios,Riosic terminology shall be used wherever possible in this report.Thus, Rios shall be called 'Earth', Nwad shall be designated 'Venus',and all dates, measurements and other data which are different on thetwo planets shall be indicated according to the Riosic calculation.
The War ended on March 29, 2049 when the last Earthian troopssurrendered to the Venusian peace forces.
When did the War begin? The first battle was fought on December 18,2048, but the first 'incident' that led directly to the conflictoccurred in November, 2042. And even before that date, many yearsbefore, officials on Venus knew that war between the two worlds wasinevitable.
Space scientists of Venus have been observing Earth for hundredsof years. The first space ship to reach your planet and returnto Venus made its voyage in the Earth year, 1891. From that timeon, explorations were made sporadically until the 1950's, whenrevolutionary improvements in the design of our ships made possiblemore economical and faster trips.
It is an interesting coincidence, incidentally, that atomic powerwas discovered on Earth just as we on Venus had made atomic drivenspacecraft obsolete by the introduction of the magnetico-gravitationaldrive. This fact is mentioned because it was the evidence of atomicexplosions on Earth that increased our interest in your planet acentury ago.
In all our observations of Earth, the most obvious fact we learned wasthat its dominant race was aggressive and war-like in nature. Havingno desire to introduce this war-mindedness to our peaceful world, weavoided all contact with Earth.
We realized, however, that in time the Earth race would accomplishspace travel and thus force a contact with us. Therefore, we devisedhighly potent weapons for our defense in the event that the people ofEarth ever stopped quarreling among themselves and attempted an attackon our world.
High officials in our government were appalled at the thought of warwith its chaotic and indiscriminate killing. There were those whodeemed it an actual act of aggression on our part to arm ourselvesin preparation for a war. The opposition to our defense program wasstrong. Yet, it was our preparedness which saved our civilization fromdestruction when your forces launched their invasion of our planetlast year.
To understand the events which led to The War, it is best that webriefly review the history of space travel by Earthians. In the year2002, the six remaining nations of the Earth formed the Federationto abolish war and to enable the people of your planet to put fortha united effort to discover the secret of interplanetary travel.This endeavour, in itself, was considered by our leaders to be mostcreditable. But the entire pattern of your development, observedfor many centuries, instilled seeds of doubt in our minds. You wereconditioned to war and the mere establishment of a Federation tomonitor the future was not adequate insurance, we felt, against furtherconflict. In your concentration on conquering space, however, you didstop warring among yourselves.
Space travel from Earth began thirty-eight years ago. The firstsuccessful trip to Luna and back was made in 2011, and by 2020 theLunar space port was opened. It was in 2020, also, that the space ship,Pioneer, left for Mars. It was never heard from again.
Unsuccessful attempts to travel to the other planets were made duringthe years 2021-2027. The Pioneer II, bound for Mars, the Adventurer,bound for Mars, and the Enterprise, bound for Venus, all disappearedwithout a trace.
In September, 2028, the Space King returned to Earth after completinga voyage to Mars. The ship landed safely, but the excited celebrationthat greeted it was short-lived when it was discovered that theentire crew was afflicted with a neurological disease that your Earthscientists labeled 'space sickness'. This disease posed a new obstacleto interplanetary travel. It attacked indiscriminately and it provedfatal in almost every case.
Research and experimentation on the cause and cure of 'space sickness'was carried on continuously from the time the Space King returned withits dying crew until the disease was conquered in 2041. During theseyears, the experimental ships Enterprise II, Razorback, and Space KingII were utilized as laboratories in orbital flights.
In April, 2041, the space liner Morning Star was completed,incorporating technological improvements designed to prevent theoccurrence of 'space sickness'. The Morning Star left the Lunar stationon July 17, 2042. Its destination was Venus.
In government circles on Venus, it was felt that no further delaycould be permitted in establishing contact with the people of Earth.They were already too close to space flight maturity to forego anyopportunity for formulating an understanding. Therefore, The MorningStar, whose flight had been observed constantly, was allowed to passthrough our ionic barrier and land unharmed on our planet. Emissariesof our Lora Dannun (nearest translation: Supreme Council) were onhand to greet the Earthmen when they left their ship.
As a precautionary measure, two atomic scorchers were trained on theship, but our officials approached the debarking Earthmen withoutside arms and in a friendly manner. The Earthmen, understandablyapprehensive, came forward with their hand weapons drawn.
Although we on Venus were already familiar with your InternationalEnglish language, our welcoming committee did not think it wise tofurther startle the men from Earth by greeting them in their owntongue. Therefore, our friendly intentions were made known by elaborateand unmistakable gestures.
The aliens from Earth, nevertheless, were startled enough by ourappearance. They stared wide-eyed at what appeared to be fourchild-like specimens of human beings. This resemblance which Venusiansbear to humans, and which should have impressed the crew of the MorningStar with the possibilities of intelligent negotiations, did not deterthem from jumping to irrational conclusions.
Our chief emissary, Ser Madi, heard their leader and his lieutenantin the following conversation (which is reproduced from the auto-taperecording made on the spot):
Leader: What do you make of them, Jensen? They look almost like humanchildren, don't they?
Lieutenant: There doesn't seem to be anything to worry about here,sir. They seem friendly enough. But why children? You'd think they'dsend some bigwigs out to welcome us. Why did they send children?
Leader: I don't know.... Maybe it's a trap!
Lieutenant: You're right, sir. We can't afford to take any chances.
Leader: Take them back to the ship for the psych boys to work on. Idon't like the looks of this.
At this point Ser Madi revealed his knowledge of the Earth language. "Iassure you, gentlemen," he said to the strangers, "that this is not atrap. Please follow us peacefully."
The invaders were stunned into silence, but it took the leader onlya moment to recover. "I'll be damned!" he exclaimed. "The sly littledevils understand English! Jensen! Have these creatures escorted ontothe Star. This is something we'll have to talk over on the ship."
At a signal from the man called Jensen, eight of your people advancedtoward the four members of our welcoming committee. Ser Madi spokeagain: "I warn you, sir, not to try to abduct us. Order your men back."
The leader of the Earthmen laughed. "Look at them!" he said to hislieutenant. "These things are threatening us!" The soldiers had pausedat Ser Madi's words. "Go on," the leader ordered them. "Take themaboard the ship!"
"You were warned," Ser Madi said sadly. He motioned to his companionsand, in an instant of brilliant light, the space ship was reduced tosmoldering ashes.
The stunned Earthians were easily taken into custody. They werecompletely awed by the destruction of their ship, which had beenaccomplished with "invisible" weapons. Ser Madi did not think itnecessary to explain the compactness and efficiency of the atomicscorchers to them. They would not have been able to comprehend theprinciples behind the finger ring weapons.
Captain Daniels, the leader of the Earth expedition, was interrogatedat great length, but he remained hostile and uncooperative. The onlyinformation that he offered was his name, rank and serial number, whichhe repeated over and over again. Jensen and the remaining crew membersrefused to answer our questions also, insisting that their captain wasthe spokesman for all of them. This action increased our fears that theintellectual and emotional make-up of Earth was incompatible with thatof Venus.
We accomplished nothing in four days of questioning. It seemedimpossible to determine the means whereby we could arrive at someworkable line of reasoning. It was equally impossible for us toascertain whether the hostile actions of the Morning Star representedthe attitude of the Earth government or if they were merely theimpulsive results of the emotional strain endured by Captain Danielsand his crew on their voyage.
The Supreme Council decided it was necessary to visit Earth now, makeour presence known, and see if friendly relations could be establishedwith that planet. We had hopes that this might be done, for therehad been no war on Earth for almost fifty years. It was hoped thatthe people had finally achieved a civilization capable of friendlyinterplanetary exchange.
The Council ordered a delegation to leave immediately on the firstdiplomatic mission from Venus to Earth. Ser Madi had justifiabledoubts about the possibility of success, but the Council overruled hisobjections.
The delegation, led by the elder statesman, Ser Alaga, left forEarth aboard the light cruiser, Tunn. The date was December 9, 2042.Returning to Earth aboard the Tunn, were the eleven survivors of theMorning Star, treated not as prisoners, but as survivors of a spacewreck.
The Tunn landed on Earth two miles out of Abilene, on December 15,2042. A few hours after touching down, the Venusian delegation arrivedin the Earth capital and presented themselves at the Ministry of State.
The office worker who stood between them and the Secretary of theMinister of Foreign Affairs was amused by the delegates' story. "Whydon't you kids go home and stop annoying us?" he said. "And stopwatching those TD shows!"
Ser Buldi indignantly repeated his request to see the Foreign Minister.
"Get out of here!" the office worker said in a tone that indicated hewas through talking to us.
Ser Buldi began to reply but he was silenced by Ser Alaga, who wishedto avoid any unnecessary incidents which could have proved embarrassingto the Earthmen. Instead, the elder statesman approached a young ladyseated behind a desk.
"What can I do for you, little boy?" the girl asked with a smile.
Ser Alaga, with the aid of his hypno-tube, quickly convinced her toadmit the delegates to the office of the Sub-Secretary for ForeignAffairs.
Then began a three day procession through the offices of manysub-secretaries, four under-secretaries and two deputy ministers. Ineach office our diplomats were received skeptically and passed on tothe next.
Finally, in desperation, the delegation released the survivors of theMorning Star. Although Ser Alaga realized that their account of theincident probably would be distorted, he knew that it would serve toverify the delegation's identity.
The Abilene News of December 19, 2042, shouted at the top of itsheadline voice:
SPACE INVADERS HERE
"MORNING STAR" DESTROYED
11 Survivors Of Space Liner Tell Story Of Attack
An immediate meeting was held between our delegation and the leadersof your government. After the formalities of greeting were over, thespokesman for the Earth government reviewed the facts of the MorningStar incident as they had been related by Captain Daniels and hiscrew. Venusian forces, they claimed, had been guilty of an unprovokedattack against the ship. We had barbarously murdered all of the ship'scomplement,