Janus and Ptah landed on the mossy ground with a muffled thump, as their ship flew away buzzing loudly. They had just landed on the Earth’s largest jungle in the year 9030.
“Why are we here again? This place is creeping me out already,” Ptah said as he wrung his scaly hands nervously. A loud roar sounded in the distance, followed by a long, earsplitting, shriek.
“We’re here because we need to find the settlers that came here last week. They haven’t responded on their communicators since three days ago !” Janus yelled raising his voice over the deafening noise. The shriek stopped abruptly and they faintly heard the sound of grunting, like something eating.
“Okay let’s get to the camp and leave quickly; I’m sure they will be there, they probably just broke their broadcaster, right Janus” Ptah whined.
“Oh stop being a baby Ptah! Nothing here can hurt us; We have the best weapons in the galaxy” Janus said nonchalantly, then he raised his blue photon disruptor and shot a nearby carnivorous plant to show it’s devastating power. It imploded, spraying acid from the plant everywhere and nearly hitting the duo. Anything the acid touched instantly turned to dust. Directly after, a nearby bird got knocked out of a tree by a large wildcat, the wildcat carried it in its fearsome jaws, satisfied with it’s catch, it’s jaws forming a twisted grin. The beast turned towards the duo, and they sprinted off in terror in the direction of the camp.
“I was told that the camp was near the largest tree on the planet” Janus said, trying to regain his breath.
“How will we know when we are there? ” Ptah inquired. Janus looked up ,
“We’re here,” he said. The tree was magnificent, it combined all of the Earth's natural forces. From the tiniest insects, to iridescent plants, to dangerous predators, the tree had everything.
“Woah,” Ptah said. All of earth was concentrated onto this tree. A large oaken gateway marked the entrance to the tree. There was a strange urge that swept over Janus and Ptah and it pulled them to the tree. It completely eliminated the fear they had before and the need to check the camp.
They walked blindly into the tree and the gate sealed behind them just before the trance dissipated.
“What just happened” Ptah muttered, rubbing his temple.
“I don’t know” Janus responded taking in their surroundings. It was nearly pitch black and all they could see was a light at the end of the very long tunnel. “Let’s go to the light so we can see our surroundings” Janus stated.
”O...okk...okay,” Ptah stammered hesitantly.
Janus decided to break the silence on the walk there. “I heard thousands of years ago this planet was home to intelligent lifeforms. I wonder if any are still around?” he asked.
“I doubt it, I don't understand how they could live in such a hostile environment for so long,” Ptah replied.
“You're right, that doesn’t make much sense,” Janus said.
As they walked the ground was uneven and there boots made loud cracking sounds everywhere they went.
When they reached the light, they found a wooden door covered with many colorful streaks, many of them red. Most were faded and dry but several looked recent and bright. Janus started to open the door when,
“Wait!” Ptah exclaimed.
“What?” Janus scowled .
“Don’t open that door, you’ve seen this crazy planet you never know what’s in there,” he replied.
“Don’t be paranoid! We don’t have anywhere else to go and maybe it’s an exit” Janus said and shoved the door open before Ptah could protest. They looked inside. It wasn’t an exit.
They stepped in. The room was lit technologically with electricity and not by glowing plants or insects. In the center was a large levitating square crystal with what appeared to be a lot of glowing roots, sticking out of it leading into the tree. “Woah, this is amazing!” Ptah said in awe. All of a sudden, Ptah jumped suddenly as the crystal transformed into a rectangle and forcefully implanted itself on the tree at eye level with a startling thunk. A crackly voice said,
“Journal entry day 1.” The crystal started to show video feed and the static dissipated gradually. It showed a lab room with a robot just starting to move around.
“We have successfully created a fully working artificially intelligent android that can be used the same way as any human could. The applications range from shutting down nuclear reactors, war, or even collecting garbage. Any dangerous or undesirable jobs people have can be taken over by these robots. The future is looking bright.” Then the scene changed.
“Journal entry day 3” the video showed the robot in a chamber surrounded with aimed turrets, Janus and Ptah moved closer in curiosity to see this strange object.
“This is the first official test of the androids war capabilities. It is fully surrounded by the best weapons we have and we are going to test its reactions,” He paused
“Hit it,” someone yelled in the background. The turrets fired and the android transformed its arm into a machine gun and shot down all of the turrets in a matter of seconds, but then it’s arm grew into a colossal gun similar to their own photon disrupters and aimed at the wall and a scientist started running up to it.
“What is it doing, this isn’t supposed to happen shut it do...”. He was cut off by the android escaping with a loud bang. The android started shooting the scientists and there was a panic the video screen went black. They waited for something to happen for a long time then it finally came back.
“Journal entry day 456” The voice stated firmly but it seemed weakened.
“The androids are winning the war and their manufacturing is killing all remaining natural life. The water is almost all polluted and there are few plants. The animals are diseased and dying off quickly, almost as quickly as the humans. This may be my final entry”. So there was intelligent life here before,except they weren’t that intelligent. Who could be stupid enough to create a robot to kill themselves. That’s how they died off, I would have expected them to die sooner with that intelligence, Janus thought. The wait for the next clip was almost unbearable to endure but finally the video came back.
“Journal (wheeze) entry, day (wheeze) 2,345”. The man’s voice was so weak it almost seemed as if it were just a small breeze in the distance.
“The androids have won, but have been destroyed by running out of fuel. The Earth is dead, there is almost no sign of life and the humans are almost nothing. I am the one of the last humans alive. Meteors have started striking everywhere across the globe, and the earth is almost dust. (long wheeze) I know this is my final entry. The earth is obviously taking revenge on us and mother nature has decided to cleanse the earth of our species for we have done horrible things and deserve this fate. I hope that she will accept that I’m using the last maple seed to plant a tree, and spare it from her wrath. I plan to put human history in a storage cube inside the seed so if any intelligent life forms find it in the future they will know that they need to be kinder to nature and not be blinded by development and become extinct like us.” This must be that tree! Ptah concluded. The man continued to whisper like the wind.
“You should accept nature's embrace and not set your fate for extinction by destroying nature. Please take this advice, and don’t destroy whatever world is existent now, accept it and enjoy it. (long weeze) (many coughs) (long weeze) I call this tree the tree of life, to symbolize that true life is having absolute peace with nature. Goodbye and I hope you will take my advice for your own good.” The video stopped and the cube went back to the glowing form, the way they had found it. Janus and Ptah stood in silence, they both had experienced something titanic in history, but both had looks on their faces that showed they had something to say. Ptah finally broke the silence, stopping Janus from expressing his thoughts before he said something arrogant and stupid.
“We can’t have peace with nature, we need to expand before our planet becomes overpopulated. How can we have peace if we need to destroy land to survive.”
Janus interjected abruptly stopping Ptah from saying any more.
“Those life forms were idiots Ptah, we wouldn’t create artificially intelligent robots and destroy ourselves, we’re smarter than that. We are superior and we shouldn’t take that buffoon’s advice, we can manage fine on this stupid planet, right Ptah.” He looked to Ptah who, didn’t respond. It took Janus a second to notice he was decapitated, he heard a deafening roar behind them, a roar existent only in the worst nightmares. Ptah fell to the floor as Janus turned around, he gulped. He had just found Ptah’s head.