The Grants came back today. What they said can’t possibly be true, but until I find out otherwise I will act as if it were. If I believe them and it turns out to be nothing more than a shared fit of dementia, I will look like a fool and we will laugh and life will go on. If I do not believe them and they are telling the truth, I will have much more than embarrassment to worry about.
The brothers say that while they were returning from Aley Green, they saw an armoured vehicle on the plains. Not a raiding wagon plated with car doors and old sheet metal but a genuine armoured transport with six gigantic wheels and a camouflaged hull. What’s more, they said there were figures gathered around the transport. They seemed to be studying the soil, and most of them were armoured like their vehicle. The Grant brothers have taken to calling these people ‘Starship Troopers,’ and until we know more, they may as well have come from the stars. They carried advanced rifles, more advanced than anything the Grants have ever seen before.
‘Like science fiction,’ they said. ‘Like Heinlein.’
One of the Troopers apparently let loose a silver dragonfly that flew into the air and swept the plains on glowing blue wings. Everything about them defies our knowledge of this dead world. They carry technology that our authors could only dream of, technology that our ancestors could not produce with all the resources of a living Earth at their disposal. Perhaps we were wrong. Perhaps our island is simply a black spot on an otherwise vibrant planet. Perhaps while we starve and rot the rest of the world carries on as if nothing has happened.
We may have some answers soon enough. The Grants said that the Starship Troopers’ silver dragonfly came this way. It has surely spotted us. If this is my final journal entry, it will make for a thoroughly unsatisfying conclusion, but I must prepare our defences. If these Starship Troopers are truly as advanced as they seem, then we don’t have much time until they arrive.
– An astute reader will easily recognize what Mr. Gordon has described here. If not, the next section will make it all clear so I feel no need to elaborate. What interests me is Mr. Gordon’s perspective. Did he see himself, and his Library full of Voices, as the last bastion of free thought, of ancient knowledge and teaching, in all the world?