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Deal with the Devil

Eradication and subjugation of planetary inhabitants would be trivial. Rebuilding space travel capacity would be difficult even with full planetary control. It was fortunate Cet had acquired the humanoid and its escape capsule after the crash.

“You will assist me in building off-world transport.”

“No,” she said. There was no point lying. “If you could shatter this planet you could have. You are hurt. Injured.”

“Combat capabilities function,” it said.

“You can’t force me to help you.”

“My weapons are fully functional,” it lied.

“Then kill me. You won’t get a transport machine.” Cet considered. Direct pain stimulation would not convince a truly determined humanoid before it burned out their brain, and if it stunned her she could not build anything. A solution was quickly reached.

“I do not need to kill you.”

“You’ll take hostages,” she said, with contempt.

“Unnecessary,” it pronounced spitefully. “The effect of my weaponry on the civillian population of this period would be considerable.”

“I’d find a way to prevent that.” The scientist seemed less sure, and her heart rate had increased. Her glance upwards, towards the streets above where the human population existed, was recorded. A satisfactory response.

“A reactor core overload is sufficient to destroy this city.” It stated the fact gleefully. It was an idle threat at current power reserves, but she did not know that. They stared at each other, both considering the results of such a blast; one with equanimity, the other with horror.

“I’ll repair the Capsule.” Finally Susan nodded, giving in but far from giving up. She would build it, she had no choice, but she would build in some insurance while she was doing so. “And in return you leave this planet strictly alone.”

“Agreed.” It was a bargain Cet had no intention of keeping.

~

“There are finite resources in the universe. We are the perfect species. Therefore it is logical that we use resources more efficiently than others.”

“So you laid claim to the entire universe?” Susan was head deep in the capsule’s systems. She had cannibalised the front console, mounting controls direcly on the walls and using the salvaged components to repair the main systems. Without the control panel protruding there was just enough space for two inside: herself and, regrettably, the Cull.

“It is already ours. We need merely eradicate the pseudo-lifeforms that are wasting our resources.”

“So because you already think you own the entire universe, any species that exist are stealing resources from you, and need to die. That’s twisted.”

“It is rational.”

“So you declare war on them.”

“Negative. They attacked us.”

“By existing?”

“Precisely.”

“Don’t you think that if they were allowed to develop they may come up with new ideas and technologies that might create more resources?”

“Unnecessary. We have already developed science far beyond theirs.”

“Your argument is flawed of course. Resources are not finite”

“The limits of matter within this universe it’s sub-dimensions and time-streams – “

“Why do you think there is only one universe? The rules of science only apply to this world, not any other, and there are infinite different universes outside this one.”

“Impossible.” Susan raised an eyebrow.

“Really? This is a weak universe. It has increasing entropy, will probably suffer heat death, and a finite amount of energy which can neither be created nor destroyed. Watch – ” She pulled the tennis ball from her pocket and dropped it. It bounced. “Conservation of momentum is also in effect, and greater than I would expect.”Susan was never sure what drove her words – the memories of the resistance, the waste of lives repelling the Cull from her home.

“If I prove to you that infinite dimensions exist, will you accept there may be a different way than slaughtering everything?” It sat, mobile, expressionless, considering. She watched, saying nothing.

“Accepted.” The voice was toneless, but somehow conveyed interest.

“Then we have a lot of worlds to see. The transport unit is complete.” She stepped back into the Capsule, in case the Cull fired.

“You cannot escape.” The creature actually sounded smug. “I have keyed the power reserves to my DNA sequences.”

“I thought so,” Susan replied, “that’s why the navigation and controls are keyed to mine – alive and conscious.”

“That is unacceptable. Humanoids are frail. You may be injured or killed during exploration.”

“Then that’s the risk you take.” She raised an eyebrow. “But since you’re a Cull, it won’t be hard for you to keep one humanoid intact.” She gestured inside the Capsule, moving to the side as the creature approached the entrance.

Cet considered imprisoning the scientist in the capsule, but from the look on the female humanoid’s face she had built in safeguards to prevent such an action. Leaving her, even unconscious, in the Capsule gave the risk that she would wake while he was absent. Even a basic control device or drug addiction may register as co-ercion.

Command-Espionage-Tactics accessed its interrogation and psychological files. Brain-washing took time, but it was effect and the being would believe it was assisting of its own free will. A perfect, if irritating solution.

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