Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 182,917,765 Issue: 469 | 12th day of Storing, Y12
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Genesis: Part One


by d_morton

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INITIALISING...

SYSTEMS CHECK... ALL SYSTEMS OPERATING AT REDUCED CAPACITY.

WARNING: POWER LOW

LOGIN: FRANCISS

PASSWORD: **************

LOGIN SUCCESSFUL

SCANNING...

PLANET: UNNAMED

NATIVE LIFEFORM: NONE

ATMOSHPERE: BREATHABLE

CLIMATE: FLUCTUANT

RECOMMEND SEEK SHELTER

WARNING: POWER CRITICAL

SHUTDOWN ACTIVATED

* * *

INITIALISING...

LOGIN: FRANCISS

PASSWORD: *************

LOGIN SUCCESSFUL

SCANNING...

PLANET: SLOTHLAND

NATIVE LIFEFORM: GENIUS

ATMOSPHERE: BREATHABLE

CLIMATE: FLUCTUANT

OPEN PERSONAL LOG EMPEROR F SLOTH

DAY 35

Test. Dictate. This is the personal log of Emperor Francis Sloth, ruler of the fledgling Slothland, master of all I survey and genius of the highest calibre.

Perfect, the computer is finally operational again after the crash. If more proof were ever needed for the incompetence of those engineers - there it is! Such a thing would never have happened if they took their science seriously, rather than toying about with those stupid engines of theirs. No progress in over four hundred years. What sort of science is that anyway?

Still, it has resulted in a rather fortunate result for myself, as this planet I have named Slothland is proving something of a blessing. The outer climate may be inhospitable, but at least it keeps out any unwanted visitors. At present it is nothing more than a lot of barren rock and a few volcanoes peppering the land with their fumes. It plays havoc with my sinuses whenever I go out. My initial findings suggested this rock is a rather new planet in the system, but during my search for a power supply I found several items to the contrary. Will investigate further when the desire takes me.

Archaeology was always boring at school. I am unlikely to feel any desire any time soon.

The lava streams beneath the surface have proven a valuable power supply, and now functionality is returning to the equipment. Soon I will be able to begin the task of researching this planet more thoroughly, and calculating the sort of life more suited to its natural climate.

No matter what those fools back home may say, this is true science.

Additional: I’m not sure I like the sound of ‘Slothland’. May have to change it later.

* * *

DAY 42

Plant life is surviving surprisingly well on the surface. I had thought it impossible for anything to actually exist out there, but something has evolved to suit the barren climate. Barring that rather unpleasant swamp I found upon arrival – although perhaps credit for that belongs to that blasted pilot who could not fly straight if he was on rails – there is almost no moisture on the surface, and even then that mud-filled abyss is not exactly what you would call a suitable source. On top of that, the smog blocks out all sunlight, and chokes at the air.

Yet that is the wonder of it, for the plants have learned to thrive on that very smog! I have collected samples of it but been unable to find any traces of water. Still, there must be something or the plants would have died by now, correct?

Of course it is correct. A man of science is always correct in his deductions.

All I must do is learn to harness the power contained within the smog, and I could use it to sustain life. I merely wish the equipment was not still so damaged, or I would have been reporting a magnificent finding by now I am certain. Upon my glorious return to the homeland, I shall have to recommend the reserve equipment stores be upgraded from this primitive rubbish. The last time I saw something like this it was in a museum!

Still, a man of science must make do with what he has, and as the finest scientist I know I must lead by perfect example.

* * *

DAY 47

Catastrophe! The unthinkable has happened! That buffoon of a pilot continues to bar the pursuit of pure science even now!

The remains of the primary equipment have been consumed by the swamp, and left me nothing but these primitive and worthless tools that even my ancestors would have been ashamed to be buried with! If I turned up at the academy with one of these ancient “microscope” things, I would be kicked off the campus as soon as everybody stopped laughing! The eyepiece is much too small to see things clearly, and it cannot even magnify to the necessary specification to see an atom dance when you poke it. How am I meant to create life with this? I might as well use a potter’s wheel and create it out of mud.

Conditions have become so bleak I am actually considering turning to archaeology and looking at that rock. This piece of junk might actually work for that. And if it fails, I can use the rock to break the thing.

Now there’s an idea!

* * *

DAY 48

Tried to create life out of the mud in the swamp. Experiment failed.

* * *

DAY 50

Impossible though it is to believe, archaeology has actually proven useful toward the pursuit of science at last! The rock was not a rock at all, but some form of stone used for building. There was once life on this planet, before some form of cataclysm wiped everything out. Obviously, creatures that build from stone are primitive and uncivilised things, but it still means this planet is capable of sustaining life. Even now the prospect of it is making me want to dig into that swamp and salvage whatever equipment I can! Imagine the possibilities!

Oh wait, you cannot imagine anything, can you. I knew it was a poor choice to take a computer without artificial intelligence with me. But like a fool I thought I might find something intelligent enough to have a conversation with out in the reaches of space, and felt functionality would serve me better.

Note to self: functionality bad, conversation good. After all, there is nothing quite so satisfying in this world as being able to look down on someone and know you are better than they. If they have no brain, it really is not worth the hassle.

* * *

DAY 51

Swamp = nasty.

* * *

DAY 82

Science is a process, and a steady curve of learning and understanding to finally achieve the impossible.

That does not mean, however, we have to like it! My path through this accursed planet is strewn with the ruins of my failures. No, not failures... miscalculations. No... no, I don’t like the sound of that either; it makes me sound like an imbecile with no place in the field of science. It is the failures of this planet to provide suitable material. That is all. I achieve magnificence with the worthless tools at my disposal, and it cannot fall on me when disaster strikes as a result. The finest chef cannot produce a meal for a king when he is given only leftovers.

No, it is the fault of everything around me. The only constant is my brilliance.

* * *

DAY 100

How fitting that this should be my birthday, a century of days since my arrival on Slothland. To celebrate, I gave myself the present of a day off from research, and had a enchanting conversation with a rather enlightening fellow who was watching me from the reflection in a piece of scrap from the crash.

He agrees with me that ‘Slothland’ just is not working. I shall ponder it further tomorrow while collecting more samples. I have a good feeling about tomorrow.

* * *

DAY 136

There is a hall of fame back home. When I eventually go back, I shall have it destroyed in order to build a big statue of the great Emperor Frank Sloth, so I will always be looking down on them and mocking their failures.

Once again, science has prevailed in the face of adversity! With just mud, a potter’s wheel, and what sustenance I managed to synthesise from my samples of the smog, I have at last created life. I thought to model them on a great figure: tall, proud, distinguished, handsome. But then I realised that if I modelled them after me, it would feel wrong to order them about, and the sight of me digging in that swamp would be disgusting. So instead I just have created some scrawny creatures with dirty coloured skin, oversized chins and just three hairs. This way I can mock them easier.

Well... I say “them”, it is more of an “it” at the moment, but it is a start! Once I craft a few more examples of my sheer genius, they will be able to dig out more machinery and I will finally be able to create something in my own image. Perhaps then, I might have an intelligent conversation again. I keep getting distracted when talking to that strikingly good-looking chap in the mirror. There is something about him that just makes me unable to focus properly.

* * *

DAY 151

At last we have managed to salvage all that remains of use from the wreckage at the bottom of the swamp. The equipment is lost beyond repair courtesy of an ill-mannered ecology on this planet, and a swamp that rudely decided to infest delicate machinery. However, some pieces have survived and are already proving useful. In particular is the camera network which miraculously escaped harm. Already I have my dim-witted servants spreading them out, enabling for more comfortable research into the changes that are happening to the atmosphere.

This has been the most worrying thing to happen since my arrival. For one hundred and fifty-one days I have waited while the barren plains scorched in the suffocating heat, the smog aglow with the flames of the sun, all the while the lava streams consumed all in their path. Then when the glow of the sun faded, the bitter chill of a truly barren night would haunt the lands, and the streams would harden, replacing the land they fed upon. It was a beautiful sight to watch and to study. It was my solace when research yielded failures. But now it is being taken away from me.

Today I saw sunlight. A single shaft managed to penetrate the barrier. I cringed at the sight.

To make myself feel better, I am going to have the minions tidy up this cave. How can a man of my calibre pursue the purity of science without a laboratory? If the world must change, I must be properly prepared to study it.

* * *

DAY 158

The sunlight is getting worse. It has only been a week, but already my cameras are picking up fresh bursts each day. To make matters worse, one of my minions was caught in it, and reduced back to the mud from which I made it. The purity of my science is being tainted, the perfection of my craft ruined. I must find a way to stop it.

* * *

DAY 165

Everything I have built has collapsed around me. The wastelands are being replaced by something green and sharp, with these accursed brightly coloured.... things... appearing amongst it! The plants I have spent the last few months studying are dying out in this new world, the balance of their eco-system destroyed by this accelerated change.

There is only one possible reasoning behind this change: I am no longer alone on this planet. Someone else is here, and has started to terraform. No regard for what was here already. Something grossly inconsiderate, and in need of being taught a lesson, perhaps?

My cameras are everywhere. I shall find them eventually, and then I shall teach them the error of their ways.

* * *

DAY 166

The last of my mutant minions fell to the sun today. To compound my troubles, the swamp I built them from has been cleansed, and with it the foul, stinking mud has been replaced by the crystal clear sheen of pure water. It makes me sick to my stomach. What use is a perfect world to science? The ultimate pursuit is driven by the need to purge the imperfections, to seek improvement from the problems of the world. My world was perfect for this purpose, but the malcontents could not see this. For the first time since my arrival I am wishing the craft had survived in order to allow me to escape.

WARNING: LIFEFORM DETECTED

What? Show camera! Show me what foul beast this system has contrived?

A ball of fluff? Idiotic machine, there is no life in a ball of fluff! At least I know what has happened to my madness now, although I never imagined a machine with no intelligence could contract such a thing. Is there nothing that can fail to make technology more pathetic?

WARNING: LIFEFORM DETECTED

There is no...

...

Well... this is an interesting development. It seems I have found something more than a ball of fluff. Whatever is happening to this planet has suddenly become very interesting. Yellow balls of fluff with big feet... and bigger eyes...

Most interesting.

I think the time has come for the great Doctor Frank Sloth to do something drastic: field research.

To be continued...

 
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