The Light Speed Complex   by Required

"Why, you ask? Why do I do the things I do, why do I want to control the world? Well, it's nothing as petty as revenge or greed, that's for certain.

You see, I was the first person to travel at light speed, to warp space, if you will. I was out there for a long time. A long long time. Dozens of decades passed earthside before I got back, and I saw something coming, no one believes me. No one.

Starting half way in, when I finally slowed down to take a look around and get my bearings, I saw something going in the diction of earth. it looked like a cluster of lights, almost a cloud. I couldn't make an un-assisted stop in time to turn around and run away so I made a loop around a dense sun. Lucky for me though I accelerated around it and at the same time got a good look at the light cluster. It was broadcasting a message on almost every wavelength for almost every frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum. They were going sub-light speed which allowed for their message to reach me as I extended to the farthest part of my slingshot maneuver around the sun. It said something I couldn't then nor now decipher, however I'm confident it was a war declaration as we now can detect their fleet getting closer using advanced scouting techniques. They are coming.

So I raced back home, giving my ship a little bit less than adequate time to crunch from the heightened acceleration from the slingshot. Impulse can be annoying sometimes, this made my oxygen recyclers less than 86 % efficient for a few weeks my time, unfortunately. Luckily again, though, I was able to ride some suns to help lessen the quick crunch and shorten my journey by at least a month. Actually, it was 39 days but that's just being technical. Anyway, as I start to slow down for solar system entry I looked back and got a signature that matched the one from before, same cluster of lights and ships, same message, as I found out later. So here I am, here we are with a huge fleet of enemy starships just a few years out and our world government is doing nothing but seeing if they can send a message out and get one back that they can understand. Here I sit trying to convince you that I'm not lying and that I'm perfectly justified in trying to overthrow the government. It's been 5 years since I got back and I need just 2 more years and a little bit of help, otherwise I wouldn't be talking to you."

The old man leaned deeply back into his armchair, awaiting a response from the two co-owners of Generation Industries, the most powerful non-government organization ever. They raised their curtain for privacy and leaned in close.

"You don't believe him, do you?"

"What, You don't?"

"No of course not, that whole bit about the cloud of lights, the unreadable message? Please, I don't buy it. That fast crunch combine with being out there for so long has had to have frazzled his brains at least a little bit. Just look at him."

They looked at the third party in the room. He had long white hair that accentuated how short he was. His height was a dead give away to early light travel vehicles that were not built as well as they are now. He has a few twitches characteristic of extended periods of time spent at relativistic speeds with no one to talk to. They didn't have very advanced A.I.s to talk or navigate with back then. He held up his glass of wine slowly and peered into it dreamily, then took a sip.

"This guy is off his rocker and I don't trust him." They turned back to each other.

"What if he's right? What if there is a huge fleet of hostile aliens out there, jealous of our advanced technology?"

"He never said that, only that he was somehow able to pick up some sort of message on his ship, and that he couldn't decipher it then or now."

"Don't avoid my question, what if he's right?"

"And we don't heed his warning to help him rule the world so that he can defend against this unseen threat? Well, if we get caught off guard we might end up back in the stone age with less than 10% of our current population, or less. Or if he's wrong and we help him to power, we just put a psychopath in power over multibillion people who are almost powerless to oppose him. Or he's right and saves everyone, hopefully. Or he's wrong and we don't help him to power and no harm done."

"So, either way we're responsible for billions of lives."


They looked at each other and both knew their collective answer to their quite difficult conundrum.

Looking up at the aged man sitting before them, they said-