Emperor Bonapog was there in all his splendour to welcome them as their spaceship landed – such was the importance of the occasion. It was a huge, time-consuming and expensive undertaking. His dreams of interstellar conquest depended on it.
After the ceremonies were over, the leading scientists were summoned to his conference room, together with other interested scientists.
Both Drs. Einstog and Newtog looked a little conscious as they gave their report.
‘Your imperial Majesty, we did our best,’ said Einstog anxiously. ‘The distance to Planet Earth is more than fifty light years away. Even our first faster-than-light robot ships crashed into unexpected space-debris before getting anywhere near it. Hence the space station. Dodge Technology finally got our Surveillance Saucer through with little damage.’
‘Less excuses and more results! What have you discovered?’
Dr Newtog nervously fumbled with the hologram projector, and a magnificent 3D image of Earth and its moon appeared. He displayed some of the lovely geological features, zooming in and turning the image to and fro. The blue oceans shimmered and the snowy peaks flashed in the sunlight.
Gasps of admiration came from many multi-throats. Even Bonapog was impressed.
‘It is beautiful! A worthy prize! I see there are green people also. Tall and stately, many are. Are they intelligent? Are they strong and well-armed?’
‘Er… these are not the ruling peoples, your Majesty,’ answered Newtog apologetically. ‘These organisms are like our photosynthetic herds, but stationary with deep feeder-tendrils into the Earth’s crust.’
‘Then the people who control them must be powerful indeed!’
Newtog then focussed on the towns villages and cities. Mutters of contempt greeted the moving images of earth-folk going about their daily business.
‘They are pathetic! Small bipeds with big mouths!’
‘Only one head! No feelers!’
‘There is not one green one among them!’
‘Then they shall be easily conquered’, remarked the emperor, with satisfaction. ‘What is the state of their weaponry?’
In answer, Newtog showed them a battle in progress. He zoomed back a little to show starving children, acts of terrorism and masses of discarded refuse in the oceans.
Finally, with a grim expression, he revealed an atomic explosion.
The scientists were aghast. Some had to hang upside down to properly comprehend what they were seeing.
‘Do they fight among themselves? To destroy enemy species is understandable, but…. themselves??’
‘How have they survived? Atomic fission as … a weapon??’
‘Will they destroy their own planet??’
Even the emperor looked rather daunted at this.
‘Is it worth the effort and expense to enslave such horrible creatures?’
At that moment, the great Dr Freug, the psychiatrist of their mission, wriggled forward and was handed the controls.
‘Your imperial Majesty,’ he said in measured tones, ‘We have decoded much of their languages, and have examined the substance of their conversations. Amongst the huge quantities of worthless and inane subjects that they discuss – and fight over – we gathered the following.’
He showed first a gargoyle on a cathedral, then a gathering of dark figures at a coven, muttering strange mantras, then various paintings of Satan or his demons.
‘It appears that this species was conquered, or allowed itself to be ruled by a malevolent spirit-species, pictured here in various guises. These subtly and deceitfully persuade them into self-destructive behaviour. Hence the consequences that have nearly brought their peoples to extinction. It appears that self-centredness and self-worship is at the source of it all.’
The emperor was shocked. ‘How could anyone be like that?’
Dr Freug cleared his multiple throats, exchanging brief, ironic images with his colleagues’ light-receptor organs. Some multi-mouths smiled.
‘It seems, however, that there is a counter-revolution happening of a gentle, but powerful, nature. It begins with their concept of “Love”, “Self-Sacrifice” and “Faith”, beginning with an historical figure 2,000 earth-years ago. His name was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator.’
He showed a well-drawn painting of a crucifixion scene. A translated portion of the Bible described His disciples preaching with radiant faces, doing deeds of kindness, then dying for their faith.
You could have heard a small Magogian-made fastening device drop.
A few tear-ducts were activated in some light-receptor organs.
‘This counter-revolution has been happening ever since, little though it is displayed in their media. Is it not what we have been seeking ourselves?’
‘If that is the case, these people cannot be conquered!’ declared Bonapog. ‘We must send a mission to discover their secret.’