Report to the 3,244,874th presidium on galactic economic activity
By Parson Thru
Thu, 26 Apr 2018
Far beyond the outer reaches of the solar system, lies the dark and secretive planet Davos. Invisible to the human eye by telescope, its dense atmosphere emits no light. It sits, quietly, unmapped by outsiders, absorbing galactic energy and reflecting nothing back.
The inhabitants of Davos are wraith-like beings who long ago evolved beyond physical solidity and loosened their molecular bonds to become gas-like, with a hint of phosphorescence. The shared intelligence to which they all subscribe knows no impediment of reflection or what we might call a conscience and is logically adapted to the task.
The task itself is to thrive in this dark corner of the galaxy on the only available nutrient suited to their metabolism: value, which they extract from the universe around them.
Their sole purpose is to absorb matter, identify and enumerate its value, then extract it for storage in vaults: hidden, unknown and inhospitable to all forms of life but their own. This process, like the beings themselves, has been evolving and perfecting itself slowly and steadily over aeons. That is, until a single momentous event.
It was the arrival into Davos’ atmosphere of an object that perplexed the Davosians and generated a concentric wave of activity resembling a small splash in their shared intellect.
The object was assessed and evaluated and found to have characteristics that could only be explained by the intervention of some, albeit limited, intelligence. More interesting still, it was found to contain levels of value hitherto unencountered in natural cosmic matter. It also came with a disc, made from the element we know as gold, giving directions to the source of this interesting find. They correctly adduced that there might be more objects like it.
These beings are nothing if not shrewd. They didn’t get where they are today… and all that.
In a small structure in one of the few picturesque locations on Davos, can be found a row of fermentation tanks where are brewed primitive nutrients for sustaining similarly primitive forms of life. These life forms have been supported and maintained to be reactivated only in times of emergency or opportunity. They are shape-shifting and capable of crossing vast distances in moments. Their useful life is, however, very limited and, once activated, they cannot be placed back in storage.
The Davosians quickly arrived at the shared opinion that this was an opportunity warranting the activation of one of the beings, or gophers. The gopher was duly awakened and briefed on the situation, then left to acquaint itself with the shiny object and its instructions, before handing same back to the wraiths for value extraction.
Earth years 1960s and 1970s in the western calendar had been difficult ones. War, energy crises and crises of faith in the economic model – the time was ripe for change. The gopher arrived late in the period and very quickly assessed what might be done, relaying all of this back to the inhabitants of Davos, whose shared intelligence became aroused by the possibilities. All that was required was to locate the leader.
Mrs. T threw the book down heavily on the Cabinet Room table.
“This is what we believe in!” she instructed the assorted suits and bouffant hairstyles around the room. They were unused to being addressed so roughly on matters of personal belief, but Mrs. T was the woman of the moment and the obvious agent of change. It hadn’t taken the gopher long to work that out.
So began the painstaking transformation. The gopher, through his Earthly interlocutor, initiated a tsunami of value-chain analyses that reached around the globe: first the “free” part then, by degrees, the rest. The Davosians showed their gratitude to the gopher and to the growing army of Earthly interlocutors.
Eventually, the infrastructure was prepared and ready to begin beaming value, pre-extracted from all activities that could be identified, across the void to Davos. New facilities had to be readied for its storage. It looked like the Davosians would never again have to worry about the supply of value. It even seemed that the bonanza might trigger a new leap in their evolution.
Such an immense project is difficult to deliver without arousing at least some suspicion in the donor population, whose value is ultimately being extracted. For this reason, many early designs for the transmission apparatus were rejected by the gopher and key interlocutors.
Finally, the brilliant idea of locating the antennae smack in the middle of every financial district on the planet was hit upon. It received overwhelming support, including, crucially, from the Davosians. The concept was based on each antenna's neat secondary use as a workplace for the interlocutors themselves. So proud of this elegant solution were they that they adorned the towers with their corporate logos.
The value extraction process has been operating and improving for some considerable time now and extending its footprint around the globe. The gopher and his original interlocutors had only a limited lifespan and most have now deactivated permanently. The product, though, is being beamed in ever larger quantities to Davos, where the inhabitants are prospering and awaiting the expected evolutionary leap.
Earth continues to produce value at a prolific rate, though donors are wilting under the effort. The Davosians and their interlocutors don’t consider this a problem, however, as a natural characteristic of the process is that individuals can be moved, substituted and deactivated as necessary. A new project has recently been launched to completely remove the organic element from the chain, increasing value extraction exponentially. This development is eagerly awaited on Davos.
For their part, the donor population grumble from time to time about some vague notion referred to as quality of life, but seem to possess a natural instinct to donate. Their weakness for products referred to as entertainment and sport leaves them in blissful ignorance of the process and end-game, delivering what Davosian humour has coined a win-win situation.