A moderately sized planet,
afloat in a distant spiral galaxy
orbiting an unremarkable star,
has taken the Tardigrazian nations by storm.
For thousands of their star cycles,
they have been capturing the imaginations
of countless people watching from their pods
both Planetside and Satellite alike,
brought together by the light
of the Blue Bead –
The little exoplanet and that defied all reason
and persisted at all cost,
possibly to spite itself.
Millions of lightyears away from our humble empire.
This tiny little dot
and the two-legged folk walking upon it
became something of a cultural phenomenon.
We have become the cheerleaders
for a people likely long passed.
We used to believe they might outlive their star
Go on to visit other planets -
meet their neighbors, like we did.
But recent transmissions from our probes
spell a tragic end on the horizon
for our distant friends,
whom we’ve seen climb down from trees,
invent tools, and writing, and cities, and more
but they never stopped at a reasonable spot.
No amount self-inflicted suffering
they brought in the name
of that momentum would stop them.
Progress, and the comfort that comes with it,
being not unlike an intoxicant for these people.
Addicts will always justify the means.
Their world has rapidly grown warmer
in the time we’ve been observing them.
Soon it will be outside the narrow window
in which they can reasonably survive.
We watched, screaming at our screens,
"The fuel - it’s the fuel causing the rise!!"
They’d gone this long, burning the dead
and expected no consequence.
It's not their fault they’re so short-sighted
It's how they evolved.
A mere hundred years or so,
that’s the lifetime of these feeble creatures
Hardly enough to gain wisdom,
let alone pass it down.
Nevertheless, they lived, they loved,
and they thrived.
Surpassing even the most generous
of our expectations.
Against all odds, they learned, and they grew.
Eventually, we did see the brightest of them
realize their jeopardy and speak the truth.
Just in time, they would unite as they did
so many times before
…or so we thought.
Instead, they fought more.
Even on the edge of extinction,
they dig their trenches,
and they pick their sides.
The great imaginations
that helped them build the world
now affixing them in rigid fictions
of their own making
Unable to see beyond
these preconceived limitations.
It feels, now more than ever,
as though we’re seeing the
final seasons of the Blue Bead.
The fall of a beloved people.
Who will never know
the billions of lives they’ve touched
in the brief time we’ve gotten
to share with them.
But then, they have surprised us
countless times before.
Perhaps they will again.