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Forward March

As the ship descended beneath the atmosphere slowly mountains appeared, and rivers and valleys. The deep blue surface revealed it self to be something like grass or clover. A little closer, and the ship hovered over a particular valley. “What it is that? It looks like there is a battle going on, are you at war!?” “No no, of course not. Just them.” “Your from a different state, then? Isn't it dangerous for us to be up here in a foreign state, with a war going on beneath us? How come they are using such primitive weapons?” The creatures were divided across an imaginary line, a few thousand on each side. They all used weapons designed for individual combat. Weapons looking like swords, knives, and even clubs. “O, no, no you misunderstand. You don't really have a word for what they are doing. It is sort of a cross between a play, a sport, and a civil war. Like on your planet, our species is divided into two basic biological classes, like your sexes. We have cells like your gametes, and one class has fewer larger cells for reproduction, and the other class has many little reproductive cells. For the most part it is the latter group that chose to fight.” All the creatures seemed oblivious to pain. As a single warrior from one tribe rushed headlong into a group of about twenty from the other tribe with nothing but his bare hands. They hacked at him with knives and clubs until he fell down and then ran to meet a larger group of the other tribe. “You mean they all fight just because they are men? The winners get to breed with your females?” “Oh my no. Not not like that at all. They are all mostly men. Anything to get out of housework as your expression goes. Technically they are fighting for philosophical reasons. Mostly the group with the red sashes believe in a god, the group in the blue sashes are atheists. They have agreed that the debate cannot be settled with thinking, so they are settling it with fighting.” “Oh, oh, that is awful. I am so sorry to have to be hear at such a terrible time.” “No, once again you misunderstand. This is one of our favourite events, I was hoping you would enjoy it. Let me see, what do you need to know to understand? Firstly all the, I suppose the closest word is soldier, all the soldiers are volunteers. And there are still plenty of men left to satisfy the women. Neither mind dying, because the theists are convinced they will go somewhere fantastic, something like your Disneyland, and the atheists are convinced they will cease to exist and therefor the whole matter will cease to be an issue. And as for the pain, they all have powerful drugs constantly being intravenously injected from a supply in their packs. The rest of us love to watch their antics, and we usually record them to watch again later. So it's all very beneficial.” “No, no! I can't believe that, a bunch of drugged up sex crazed maniacs being allowed to massacre each other for entertainment! It's horrible!” “They really don't mind. If there is a survivor I'll get him to talk to you when we land, and at any rate you can ask anyone you meet. You can ask the next group of soldiers before they go out. In fact I believe there is another one scheduled in four days just six cities over, we can ask them.” “Well, Jesus I guess I can accept that your species doesn't mind death, but it sounds so sexist. Sexist, do you know what that means? Do you have that concept on your planet?” “O yes, I know what it means, mostly from studying your planet. Some of our archaeologists think they may have discovered evidence of sexism in the past, but it is very scanty evidence. Actually those archaeologists are extremely fascinated with the sexism on your planet. Up until a few of your years ago it was expected you would turn out exactly like us, especially after you discovered morphine. But you wanted to know about sexism. Women are of course free to fight if they want to, some do, mostly the very old ones, who are sick of the young ones flaunting about. I plan to fight myself when I'm older it looks like a lot of fun, and I'm sure my children and grandchildren will enjoy watching me.” “Thats it? Thats all you have to say about sexism?” “Well out here men never got on to doing just science, or just academic pursuits the way some of yours have. They did accomplish a great lot to get us started, but it was almost all for the sake of war. Women were the ones interested in long drawn out conversations that didn't need conclusions, and they were the ones interested in making love for hours on end. They were the ones who enjoyed spending years raising children. So, thats what they did, and they adapted a lot of mens war technology, and created a lot of new technology to make their lives, and life on our planet much better. It wasn't too hard to convince men to organize their wars, and keep them safe by using smaller weapons. Then men decided it was just far more fun fighting face to face.” “What about a desire for accomplishment, the desire to achieve, who keeps your civilization going here?” “Oh that is almost entirely done by computers. As I said we have archaeologists, and every other type of scientist, scholar, whatever people want to do, but they do that for their own interest. Most of the work just involves learning what our computers and robots have discovered. Obviously computers and robots can work almost infinitely faster and smarter than any organic being.” “What about earth? What about me, us humans? Why did you come all this way to grab me and bring me here.? “Oh, it was purely a social call. We knew you were unemployed and thought you might enjoy a little trip.”

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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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