“Ares, how nice to see you. You look well, my brother,” the room’s owner said. In fact, the brothers looked remarkably similar, which was not surprising since they were twins. One’s hair was a little shorter, but otherwise they looked very much the same, except for the eyes. The visitor’s eyes were so dark that they were almost black, while his brother’s eyes were bright and blue.
“I don’t feel well, Apollo, I'm bored,” Ares said as he moved to a chair indicated by his brother, Apollo.
A look of concern came over Apollo’s face. Boredom was a serious condition among Noblers, the class of Uorian society to which the twins belonged. The Uorians had wiped out almost all diseases and major health problems thousands of years before, so it was common for Noblers to live for five thousand years, or longer. But they Uorians had never quite figured out how to avoid boredom as their lives went on day after day and year after year. In fact, suicide was the leading cause of death among Noblers.
“You’re far too young for that, Ares,” Apollo said, as he took a nearby chair. “You should never have gotten involved in politics. It’s nothing but bickering and grandstanding and nothing ever changes. It must be incredibly frustrating for you.”
“Yes,” he said, “we are still arguing about the same things we were arguing about when I first joined the council. And that was a thousand years ago.”
At that moment, Martin entered the room carrying a tray with two glasses filled with a light orange liquid. He looked much older than the two brothers, although, in reality, he was younger than they. The genetic mapping for Prolots was different than for Noblers, and they rarely lived beyond two thousand years. Without speaking, Martin presented the tray to each of the brothers to take a glass of the liquor and left the room.
When the door closed behind him, Ares picked up the conversation, “The Supreme Ruler constantly reminds us of the danger of a Prolot rebellion, and yet they never rebel. Nothing ever changes.”
“We pay the Prolots well,” Apollo said, as he took a small sip from the glass.
“You pay them well, Apollo,” Ares replied. “Most of the others pay them just enough to keep them from rebelling.” Ares took a sip of the orange liquid. “Excellent Uzo Apollo. I may have several of these.”
“I thought you were enthralled with golf. The last time we met, it was all you talked about,” Apollo said.
“It’s an infuriating game, Apollo. Be glad you never took it up.”
“We have many enterprises,” Apollo said. “You could manage a business.”
“We both know I’m no good with business,” Ares said. “That’s why I went into politics in the first place."
Apollo stood and walked back across the room to the place he had been standing when Ares first arrived. He stared at the panel for a few seconds, then turned around to face Ares.
“We should have another contest with Eden,” Apollo said. “You always enjoy them. Politics and intrigue can be fun when you have some control over them.” Eden was the name of the garden Apollo and Ares had inherited from their father, Zeus. It was a rocky planet almost a thousand light-years from Uor.
“Yes, that’s true,” Ares said. “They always seem to thrust themselves into wars and chaos. I so enjoy it.”
“I don’t understand why you love to watch them destroy themselves,” Apollo said. “The Garden could be so much more pleasant if they could just avoid that sort of thing.” He glanced sidelong at his brother. “Especially if they weren’t so encouraged to it.”
Since their father had first shown the Garden to his sons, the slow but relentless advance of art and technology had fascinated Apollo, while the wars and political turmoil that always seemed to erupt on the planet had equally fascinated Ares.
“Their toys are so primitive, Apollo,” Ares said.
“Of course it’s primitive, Ares, but still it is fascinating to watch the excitement of discovery.”
“So, what shall the new contest be, Apollo?” Ares asked.
“Well Ares, this is my idea.” Apollo walked back across the room and again took the chair across from Ares. “Have you followed events on Eden?” he asked Ares.
“Occasionally,” Ares answered. “It’s been quite boring of late.”
“Boring?” Apollo said with a quizzical look. “There is constant conflict among their religious groups and their ethnic groups. There are conflicts all over the planet!”
“Minor skirmishes,” Ares said. “Nothing exciting.”
“Well, Ares, there are some very important things happening right now, and how those things turn out could lead to global war. I’m talking about the thing that’s happening with the climate. It’s becoming warmer, and that will eventually lead to ocean flooding in some areas and bad weather patterns in other areas. They will have massive crop failures, which will result in global conflict for the remaining resources. Doesn’t that sound exciting to you?”
“It would, except that it will take too long to be interesting.”
“That’s where our contest comes in, Ares,” Apollo said. “We speed up the outcome.”
Apollo paused as the door opened and Martin entered the room with fresh glasses of Uzo. He placed the new drinks on the nearby table and put the empty ones on his tray. Without speaking, he left the room and closed the door.
“Here’s what I have in mind,” Apollo continued. “According to their calendar, it is now the twenty-second day of March. On the fifth day of April, which is sixteen days hence, the largest and most powerful nations on Eden will have a meeting to establish a framework for reducing the effect of the warming and to get as many nations as possible to agree to such an idea.”
He paused for a moment and then continued. “So the contest is this: If my side can convince most of the political leaders of the planet to adopt a resolution calling for a reduction of the gasses that are causing the warming effect, I win. And if they don’t adopt such a resolution, you win.”
“And what is it that I win?” asked Ares.
“Ah, if you win, then Eden will be plunged into a long period of wars and conflicts over its diminished food supply,” Apollo said.
“Yes, but as I said before, that will take so long that it won’t be any fun.”
“That’s where we come in to speed up the outcome,” Apollo responded.
“How do we do that?” Ares asked.
“By giving them knowledge of course,” answered Apollo. “I’ve been studying some ancient documents, and I have found two variations of an old technology that could drastically affect the Edenites in a very short time. These are old technologies from our point of view, but they would represent huge advances for the Edenites.”
Apollo paused and took another sip from his drink, then continued. “The first is a graffon particle energy storage device, an atomic battery if you will. It can store enormous amounts of energy in a space the size of a sokur ball with almost no risk of nuclear accidents. They could energize their homes and transport devices with these batteries. It would virtually eliminate the dangers from the warming.
“The second technology is also a graffon particle device, but this one can be made into a highly destructive weapon. With a bit of knowledge, they are easy and cheap to build. Practically any nation or group on the planet could build them.”
“Very interesting, Apollo, and I suppose the winner of our contest gives the technology of his choice to the nations or groups of his choice?”
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