Posted in Short story

The Invisible Hand

The names of the exact philosophers were lost to time, wiped out in one of the great chemical warfare floods. That they had called the periodic near-extinction level events “The Invisible Hand” was not lost. To this date, men debated and argued over the cause of The Invisible Hand, but these debates didn’t even rise to the level of educated guesses because no man before now had ever slipped the surly bonds of Corani to investigate the mysteries of space. It was now well-established scientific consensus that their ancestors had been too feeble minded and of such poor constitution that simple survival was a struggle—never mind scientific achievement.

The fact was that throughout the history of Corani, about every hundred generations, deadly chemical rains fell from the skies, wiping out nearly the entire population. There had been other struggles in their history as well, but it was difficult to separate the myth and legend from facts.  I mean, who would believe in spores from space landing sporadically (other than that being the obvious etymology of the word) and establishing destructive colonies? Who would believe that the many weak and feeble generations of Coranians could possibly have battled the invaders and won? Those are rhetorical questions—the whackjob religious fanatics believe exactly that. They claimed that the same mystical force that sends the deadly floods have been sending those floods to help Corani by destroying the plagues and invaders. They claim that the toxic rains completely destroy the spores and entire colonies of invaders, but they only kill the weakest of the Coranians.

The latest scientific research bears out part of those claims. Hundreds of chemical storms have repeatedly killed off all but the strongest.  But what kind of god would destroy over ninety-nine percent of His people just to make them stronger? That isn’t a god, that is a monster. The most recent census data shows that Corani has a population approaching a billion citizens. The Invisible Hand struck just yesterday and killed fewer than one tenth of a percent of them and most of those deaths were not directly caused by toxins but by incidentals. Corani has become nearly indestructible.

Science vessel Icarus VI had been launched just hours before the attack. Captain Dax Wilson’s reports were coming in regularly and they were both fascinating and unbelievable. From space, Corani looked just like a doorknob. The Invisible Hand was far too immense to see in its entirety, but a mosaic of photographs present an undeniable picture of an unfathomable aerosol can. The writing on its side says “Lysol.”

Some scientists believe that there is an intelligence and perhaps a great being controlling Lysol but the mind boggles at such a thought. Current theories don’t support the existence of a living being of such magnitude. It’s simply impossible.  Although, just a few days ago science would have scoffed at the idea of Lysol itself. In any case, the Coalition of Science and Civil Defense has decided to put together a great space army. The mission will be to defeat Lysol, and if necessary, whatever controls it.

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