Al-Hujwiri , " The Kashf al-Mahjub "
There are two kinds of speeches and two kinds of silences. Speech is either truth or a falsification, and silence is either fruition or heedlessness. If one speaks the truth, his words are better than his silence, but he who invents falsifications, his silence is better than his speech.
Al-Hujwiri , " The Kashf al-Mahjub "
Captain Khalid Muhammad sat feeling troubled in his ready room sipping his warm cup of tea and contemplated what his communications officer had told him earlier. He had been having a rather pleasant conversation with his first officer Commander Fadel Shaker whom he had served with for over 10 years now and the Sensors Officer Lt. Kathem El-Saher a young go getter from the planet Khalwat, over a dinner of spicy curried beef, rice and lemon grass soup, about the new star system they had just slid into. The crew was excited as the second planet’s surface was 65 per cent covered in oceans and had an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. The sensors had also showed and abundance of plant life and with an average temperature at sea level on the equator of 26c. The sensors had also shown that the planet was teeming with life.
They had been joking about where they were going to build their retirement homes on the planet, which they were currently calling Aamus, with Lt. Kathem El-Saher saying he would want to find where the best ski slopes were on the newly discovered world and build a large home there, when Sub-Commander Amr Diab the communications officer had interrupted saying that he had just picked up some video transmissions coming from the planet.
“Aliens?” asked Lt. El-Saher eagerly his face bright with anticipation.
“No, not Aliens” replied Sub-Commander Amr Diab a no nonsense man in a slightly annoyed tone, looking at Kathem El-Saher he thought if the man had a tale it would be wagging right now. He had then gone on to explain further, it was this further explanation which was bothering the captain.
First Citizen Kenny Macaskill was feeling annoyed. It was dark outside of his office window and he watched as the rain poured down in sheets, the park across the street being lit up by the occasional flash of lightening. The Rain wasn’t annoying him as it was cleaning up the streets of the capitol city which were sorely in need of it after yesterday’s founders’ day celebration, something which consisted mostly of throwing powder of various bright colors on your friends, foes and people chosen by random in the crowd. As a boy and even when he got older participating with his own children, he had always enjoyed the annual Founders day festival, but now his aides had advised him that as First Citizen it would not be dignified and so he had gone to some official dinner, that had annoyed him. Not that the aides said it, but that he had listened to them. Of course that was not what was really bothering him nor the fact that his secretary had put sugar in his coffee again why the boy kept doing that as he was quite competent at everything else his job required of him.
No what was annoying the First Citizen was that instead of having a year or two of warning about a starship approaching the planet he was told that there was one already in the star system and then they only knew about it because some astronomy grad students studying the huge and violent storms of the gas giant Gallaudet and saw it pass by the gas giant. They had originally thought they had discovered a new comet or asteroid then observed it making a course change. The military trying to keep the news of the star ship hush was currently providing free room and board for all of the astronomy students.
The military had gone on to with, what the First Citizen found to be refreshing, extreme efficiency to commandeer the largest telescopes on Sterns’ world and had confirmed that it was most matter of fact a star ship. They had also managed to determine, according to the classified report on the First Citizen’s large metal and glass desk, that it was not an Ark ship like the one which had brought the original colonist from Earth to Sterns’ world. The report went on to say in clipped military language that the star ship was not only of unknown design but that they were not even sure how its propulsion system worked.
After reading the short report to his assembled cabinet The First citizen sat down in his overstuffed green leather chair and called for opinions and questions. The cabinet quickly exploded with questions and opinions.
“Aliens!” stated Sayuka Isoyama the petite Minister of Culture, her entire tiny body shaking with intense anticipation.
“I doubt that it is aliens” replied Josh Brolin the Minister of science and technology, his facial expression relaying to everyone in the room that he thought Sayuka was a few slices short of a whole loaf. “It is far more likely that in the several hundred years that have passed since this colony was founded that earth has made various technological advances which we are not familiar with.” He then sat down taking his glasses off to clean them.
“Invasion Sir, you should call up the military reserves and deploy our star fighters at once” demanded the rather frightened red faced Minister of Agriculture a man used to combating crop pests not the aliens who he was sure would begin landing soon.
“Well there are two problems with that plan, one we do not have any star fighters and two we do not have any star fighters. Now I do realize that it is the same reason but it such a big one that I felt I should mention it twice. Our space command entirely is made up of two asteroid defense ships and three shuttles which we use to put satellites up in orbit and only the Asteroid defense ships are armed.” Stated Gerhard Stoltenberg the bear like minister of defense while looking at the minister of agriculture with contempt. “And military intelligence has determined that the ship is too small to be carrying an invasion force. It has perhaps a crew two hundred.”
“It could be an Alien military reconnaissance vessel” retorted the Agricultural minister trying to regain some of his composure.
“It is not aliens, and why would anyone invade us?” Asked Minister Brolin.
“Earth is overpopulated, it was even so when our ancestors left hundreds of years ago. It has probably only gotten worse and they need to resettle the excess population” blurted out Minister Isoyama whom after the initial shock of the news had passed, had decided it was not aliens.
“It would be easier and cheaper then to just send out thousands of Ark ships” Stated the Defense Minister.
Sub-Commander Amr Diab turned the video monitor to the channel the video stream they had interpreted was on. The officers watched it for a few minutes when Captain Muhammad asked the question that had crossed all of their minds, “what is wrong with the audio?”
“Nothing sir, there is none “replied Sub-Commander Diab with a wily grin he continued, “We have looked at thirty seven video broadcasting streams coming from the planet and none of them have audio. Also we have been unable to detect any audio radio broadcasts coming from the planet.”
“That doesn’t make any sense, one of the first things colonies do is set up a radio station or two. “Said Lt. El-Saher in a confused tone.
“We had the same thought. Me and the boys in communications looked at the programs and while many news, sports and even science programs had text subtitles and narration running under the pictures. Many of the pure entertainment programs did not. Then we looked at everyone was doing with their hands and we realized that they were talking with their hands” said the Sub-commander who was becoming very enthusiastic.
“How did they all become deaf? Was their some sort of virus or chemical accident? I do not see how this could happen on such a large scale.” stated the captain a puzzled look on his face and in his tone.
“We do not know sir, but I am sure that it is not beyond Confederation science to reverse it. Such an offer of help could really help with the diplomatic overtures.” Replied sub-commander El-Saher.
“I am sure that the Confederacy will be happy to send medical teams from New Malaysia or New Kurdistan to help the people of …. What do the people call their world?” asked Captain Khalid Muhammad.
“Sterns’ World, Sir”
“Yes, Sterns’ World. Help the people of Sterns’ World.”
Just as the First citizen was thinking to dismiss the meeting before it turned into a fist fight a well dressed female Aide to the First Minister came in to the conference room and slipped him a hand written note. He read it quickly and after getting everyone’s attention announced that the ship was sending them a text message.
The C.S.S. Hamza Yusef sat in high orbit over Sterns’s world, where thousands of very excited amateur astronomers, along with several dozen very concerned military stations watched it. The military stations monitored closely everything the could of the C.S.S. Hamza Yusef, taking special care to make sure that they did not try to communicate with anyone outside of the official government channels. And this was because; despite Sterns’ world’s government best efforts at keeping the arrival of the C.S.S. Hamza Yusef a secret everyone knew. One news station was keeping a steady of a blurry picture of the ship in orbit while instant experts discussed the implications of its arrival on Sterns’ world’s society.
The First Citizen could feel the veins in his neck throbbing as his entire 2 meter frame shook with rage. Help, the foreigners had dared to call it help. Stern’s world was a society which existed in silence. The concept of a society which exists in silence was enshrined in their world’s constitution. A Society in Silence was engraved on Mark Sterns statue outside of the Parliament building. This very thing is why their ancestors had left earth, to get away from this type of prejudice and now after hundreds of years the hearing world had finally tracked them down or if Captain Khalid Muhammad was to be believed, stumbled across.
First Citizen Kenny Macaskill had, had the military step up their jamming operations so that the foreigners ship would not be able to communicate with anyone outside of official channels the internal security apparatus try to make sure there were no leaks. Problem was Sterns’ world was not a police state and people were use to freely expressing themselves. The First citizen was afraid that the dangerous alien ideas that the C.S.S. Hamza Yusef would expose the population to, would destroy their society.
The crew had just finished praying Isha a few minutes before and while most of them were still making dhiker or praying Sunnah, Captain Khalid Muhammad and Sub-Commander Amr Diab met to discuss the day’s events in the officers’ mess over cups of thick sweet Turkish coffee and a large platter of walnut Baklava. Their day had been very busy and both men were grateful for some time to relax.
“The laser flashes directed at the ship are defiantly not an attack sir” stated Sub-Commander Amr, “it is old morse code. It took us a while to find a file on Morse code but we have been able to decode the message, somebody down on the planet is asking us if we can really make their children hear. I can tell you that this is not an official government request.”
Captain Khalid sighed and scratched his head. “Then we do not respond, from the emails and news broadcast we have been monitoring their world is already in an uproar about the offer we made them. I am not about to compound our problems by negotiating outside of official government channels. We are leaving the official diplomatic mission that will be here soon, inshallah, enough of a mess.” Said Captain Khalid sadly still thinking about how his offer of help had blown up in his face.
The two men spent the rest of the evening in silence simply enjoying the coffee and thinking of home.
The First citizen wearily looked at the newspaper, he felt as if nearly all his strength had drained away. The newspaper showed tens of thousands of protesters in the streets of the capitol, demanding to be allowed to talk with the Starship in orbit. He knew that soon it would be hundreds of thousands in the streets all across the world. Even members of parliament were for an open dialogue with the foreigners and not just members of the opposition but members of his own party.
Business leaders were sending him text messages hourly it seemed demanding to be allowed to negotiate some sort of trade deals. At breakfast that very morning he and his teenage daughter had argued with his wife and eldest son, who was home on holiday.
An argument that had ended with hurt feelings and words that everyone wished they could take back.
Captain Khalid had told him that the C.S.S. Hamza Yusef would soon be leaving the system and that another ship carrying a diplomatic mission would arrive shortly aster their departure. The captain promised the first citizen that they would impose nothing on Sterns’ world but would respect any decision that they made.
First Citizen Kenny Macaskill simply did not want to go down in the history books as the first citizen who oversaw the collapse of Sterns’ world’s society.