Meeko’s Terrible Worm

claw - 2017 - 5x7
Eduardo Suré; Claw Arrives, 2017; Graphite

The planet Meeko was 219 light years from Earth. The most intelligent beings who inhabited the planet were cognitively very much like humans. However, they were very different physically. They evolved to have modular bodies. Their torsos, legs, and arms were independent; but they joined together to construct complex individuals. The symbiotic relationship of the torso and limbs helped them survive the harsh environment, powerful predators, and war.

Yfelergon was the energy executive of the planet Meeko. This was a very high position in the planet’s government. His duty was to manage energy resources to maximize benefits for all citizens. He knew how much time it took to go from raw materials to usable energy. He also knew how much it cost to produce the energy. He was obsessed with measurement. As they should, the time and amounts concerned him. Unfortunately, the principal factor of his concern was the merit of the citizens who received the energy. He had a very strong opinion about whether certain groups of citizens were worthy of the energy his department worked so hard to produce. Anyone who spoke with him saw where he stood.

“Do you know when Asis will return to work?” Yfelergon asked his assistant Tarius.

“She has three more months of leave, sir,” replied Tarius.

“Isn’t this her fifth offspring?” Yfelergon asked.

“It’s her sixth, sir,” said Tarius.

“You work hard and are paid well for it, Tarius. How many children do you have?” Yfelergon asked.

“None, sir,” replied Tarius.

“You have none, and Asis has six,” said Yfelergon. “Please tell me, how many units of energy does a citizen consume from birth to adulthood?” Tarius replied that he would need to calculate that and get back to him. If he had known what his boss was planning, he might have underestimated by a lot.

There was a catastrophe in Meeko later that year. The offspring of the working class and poor were starving. Energy was plentiful, but the children were unable to consume it. As the years went by, the working class and poor significantly reduced the number of offspring they produced. Their inability to perform a basic function of all living things caused unrest among them. Their numbers decreased overall, unhappiness was common, and there were serious social problems.

Since the demand for energy went down, there was a surplus. Those in the population that were better off financially took advantage of the lower cost of energy to enhance their lifestyles. Some boosted their power and made themselves stronger and faster for no practical purpose. Others replaced their older components with newer ones so that they might be more attractive. Many purchased homes much larger than they needed. They moved far away from the neighborhoods where the working class and the poor lived – far from their unhappiness and problems. The differences between the haves and have-nots grew extreme.

However, decent citizens on planet Meeko were not extinct. They saw the unhappiness and problems of the working class and poor and wondered why they could not live good lives too. Activist citizens investigated the problem with the working class’ and poor’s offspring. They saw no reason for malnutrition in a world with plenty. What they found out was horrifying.

Yfelergon developed and installed malware into the energy distribution system. The worm infected all citizens, but it was discretely detected and cleaned by the more expensive service packages the upper classes were encouraged to add to their energy services. Without that protection, the working class and poor remained infected. The worm propagated among them. The effect of the worm was that it did not allow energy consumption mechanisms to develop along with the growth of the child. Energy requirements remained at the level they were at the time of infection. Adults infected with the worm did not notice it, but their offspring did not grow.

Yfelergon was arrested. He was found guilty of crimes against Meeko. He was sentenced to be disassembled, his components encased in energized stone, and to be banished from the planet. Yfelergon did not believe he had done anything wrong. Instead of sorry, he was furious.

A new energy executive was appointed. He removed the worm from the energy distribution system. The department cleansed everyone who was infected. The working class and the poor began to recover their numbers. Understandably, that generation was deeply angry and remained suspicious of their planet’s leadership their entire lives.

After losing all of the appeals influence and wealth could buy, Yfelergon’s sentence was carried out. He was disassembled into five pieces and they were encased in energized stone. His body parts continued to live independently, so being taken apart was not a death sentence. The five pieces were launched into space in five different directions. They traveled far from Meeko and each other.

Years later, a strange asteroid approached an inhabitable planet. The asteroid became a meteor and glowed as it entered the atmosphere. Some of it exploded in the atmosphere and emitted a large amount of light. Most of the asteroid survived the passage through the atmosphere and hit the ground. The impact weakened the meteorite and it cracked. The crack allowed something to escape.

//eS

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