The Fall of Humanity and the Rise of Black Heaven

Even as humanity rose from the cradle of their homeworld to harvest the bounty of the solar system, there was an overall feeling that the species was at its end. In terms of culture, there was nothing that felt new. Every book, movie and videogame was a sequel based on a tired theme, every popular musician only borrowed elements from older musicians, every new generation of actors and actresses was somehow more narcissistic and empty-headed than the preceding generation, and the visual arts had become so abstract, so postmodern, and so far removed from the realm of the common man that many famous visual artists felt it beneath them to create any actual artwork.

In terms of politics, nearly every system that had ever been devised had been tried, but none could guarantee lasting happiness or even stability. The divide between rich and poor grew until finally there were two classes of humans: One class was so wealthy that they barely had to interact with reality, and could pay others to manage every detail for them so that they could live like pampered children, and another class that lived in continual, unending debt and had to work demeaning jobs just to survive. Those who refused a slavish, materialistic, and stressful existence were often forced to live like animals on the outskirts of civilization.

As humanity rose to its zenith and laid claim to the solar system, there were no celebrations, no cries of victory, no songs of conquest – there were only wry, sarcastic smirks and debates concerning how long it would take humanity to ruin the neighboring planets of the solar system.

Then the Invaders came. Technologically advanced, hyper-militaristic, highly organized… and completely uncommunicative. When they came to our solar system with their fleet of black ships, they found in humanity a race bent over and begging to be conquered. In only a few short days they devastated our armed forces, annihilated all of Earth’s great cities, and set up their own system of rule. They took their time in destroying our off-world colonies. They felt no need to rush, for they had already won the war.

Or so they thought.

The human colonies scattered about the solar system continued as best they could. They worked, they tried to reestablish communications with Earth despite the fact that it had “gone silent”, and they watched as, one by one, they were casually picked off by the Invaders. Then, one day, a voice was broadcast to every colony by a powerful transmitter – a transmitter that was undoubtedly using alien technology. All labor ceased and the world stood still as the speaker said, “Hello, my name is Admiral Franks. I’m the leader of the human resistance against the alien invaders who have taken our home and our freedom from us. I would like to talk with you for a few minutes about how we humans must change in order to survive in a universe that, sadly, does not care about our survival and is unsympathetic to our situation…”

Nothing of the sort had been heard for years. Human culture had been dominated by shrill, argumentative personalities, both politically and culturally, for as long as anyone could remember. The voice of Admiral Franks, the so-called Storm Lord or absolute leader of the Black Lance Legion, was warm, calm, paternal, and wise. For one hour he spoke of humanity’s dreadful situation and how it was not entirely the fault of alien outsiders; according to Franks, there were probably thousands of other sentient species in the galaxy who were just as childish, greedy, and shortsighted as humanity, and they too were routinely culled by species that had a greater “collective focus” on what they wanted. Admiral Franks spoke of the new culture that the Legion had to offer – a culture of strength and maturity, a culture fit for a species that could decide its own fate and protect its own interests. He claimed that the Legion, and only the Legion, had the technology and the will to stand against the Invader, and that any human who wished to see a solar system free of outsider influence should join them.

In order to meet with the Legion, the listeners would have to solve a complicated puzzle based on an understanding of human history, culture, and biology. The final answer was a set of coordinates where a Legion ship would pick up anyone interested in joining the resistance, but the solving of which would most likely prove too complicated to an alien outsider as well as any human unfit to defend his own species.

Of course, the broadcast was mostly ignored.

There were a few who joined the call. Even though the whole thing sounded like an elaborate joke, it was a fact that several discontented dreamers, fighters, and wise men simply disappeared from the human colonies on Mars, Pluto, and the moons of Jupiter shortly after the broadcast. Other than that, the broadcast was lampooned in a few popular comedy shows, then forgotten.

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