I suppose that's something anyway. To think that you could prevent this, but simply weren't willing to, would be too much to bear. We've been sufficiently reminded of our insignificance already. To have our people die because the universe sees us and simply does not care, like insects under the feet of giants...\n\nI'm going to return to my family now, and wait. For what it's worth, I don't know that I can blame you. I might even pity you. I wish I could say no part of me hates you, but the lie will do neither of us any good.\n----\n*[[I understand.|Neutral Finale]]\n
We hate, I think, because it's been advantageous for our people in the past. If we identify something or something that angers us by its very existence or the nature of what it does, we hate it, because it helps us identify the things that harm us, or otherwise are bad for us. \n\nIt's a primal sort of thing, I'll concede, but our primal emotions are there for a reason. They kept us alive when we needed to recognize things we should avoid, things we should fear, and things we should fight.\n\nYou remind us that we live in a place that is dangerous at times, and couldn't care any less whether we thrive or disappear in an instant. My instinct is to hate you, to remind me that I need to fight.\n----\n*[[Has it helped you?|Does it help]]\n*[[Why hate what had no choice?|Wrong target]]\n
I'm not sure if that helps or makes it worse. Now I can't even focus on the anger. You're as much a victim in this as we are, though I appreciate your willingness to play the villain for our benefit.\n\nI will remember you, asteroid, whatever you are. At least we were able to speak before the impact.\n----\n*[[Farewell.|Up Finale]]\n
So you realize what colliding with our planet means?\n----\n*[[It means many of your people will die.|Many will die]]\n*[[It means I'm going to die.|Going to die]]\n*[[Not really.|Don't realize]]\n\n
I wouldn't expect it to. But to a lot of my kind, it does. Anger is how we've stayed alive. It is our instinctive response to what hurts us. What truly angers us, we [[hate.|What is hate]]\n----\n*[[I don't understand hate.|What is hate]]\n*[[I don't know why you would tell me this.|I don't care]]\n*[[How can I anger you while having no choice?|How can I anger you]]\n*[[So others feel this way as well?|Others hate]]\n
I don't think anyone could. Sometimes it feels like our whole existence is triage. Maybe we've only come as far as we have because we made some lucky choices along the way, and you're just something we have to bear, as the price for avoiding other dangers in the past.\n----\n*[[That's a constructive way to view this.|Constructive viewpoint]]\n*[[Then it's fortunate I'm not larger.|Fortunate size]]\n*[[Will your priorities change now?|Will priorities change]]\n
I agree. Focusing on being a victim is probably the least effective way I could try to move forward, and since I'm not going to die no matter how this event plays out, I shouldn't sit here and waste my effort on hate. There are things that will need to be done, and conversations that need to happen. I should prepare, and think about how we can learn from this.\n\nGoodbye, asteroid. You don't intend to harm us, and I won't waste another moment concerning myself with you.\n----\n*[[Very well.|Neutral Finale]]\n
A Conversation with Ophion
I shouldn't try to reason with something that has such an inflexible notion. What purpose would reason serve, to a consciousness that is unwilling to act? If it serves no purpose, then everything is futility, and embracing that notion is in itself pointless.\n\nI choose to believe we make our fate, because we can. It is what made us what we are.\n----\n*[[Then you should have stopped this.|Could have stopped me]]\n
I never suggested it was. I can't help that I get angry when people suffer for no reason, and it doesn't much matter whether it's done on purpose. I ought to be acknowledged. It shouldn't be.\n----\n*[[Maybe all that's left is to accept this.|Accept it]]\n*[[Your anger doesn't change anything.|Poem]]\n
I can't seem to muster much concern for you, to be frank. You're an old rock, probably just the wreckage of the collision of even older rocks, on an unimaginably boring voyage to nowhere in particular. It's unlikely the end of your existence in this particular form will have any significant effect on the Universe.\n\nMaybe the same can be said for us, for now, but at least we can say that there's a chance we'll leave our mark somewhere beyond this little planet.\n\nSo no, do not look for sympathy from us. You may kill thousands of us soon, and it does not trouble me at all to say you will not be mourned.\n----\n*[[You are so important?|Important]]\n*[[Your hate clouds your reason.|Irrational]]\n
I don't know why I expected a reaction. I just wondered if anyone had bothered talking to you. I felt like you should know what you're doing, and what's going to happen here if we can't deflect you.\n\nIt doesn't seem fair to me that people are going to die, possibly a great many people, because some unfeeling rock can't be bothered to yield, just a bit, and let us pass by.\n----\n*[[...|No reaction 2]]\n*[[I am aware, but I don't care.|I don't care]]\n*[[What purpose does blaming me serve?|For what purpose]]\n
Honestly? Yes. It's better than just sitting here feeling helpless. We can blame you, rather than hating the whole universe for throwing so many lives away for no reason.\n----\n*[[What if good comes of this?|For a reason]]\n*[[I can't regret what I do.|Can't feel]]\n*[[If I had a choice in this, I would avoid it.|Wish I could change]]\n
I don't suppose you've had a reason to describe yourself before. If you're the large rock heading towards the blue planet nearby, then you must be the asteroid.\n----\n*[[How would we be speaking?|Not possible]]\n*[[Very well.|I am the asteroid]]\n
There's little else for us to do. We can try to be ready for the possibility that this will happen again someday. I suppose it will be taken seriously now, as a threat we'll need to plan for. That's never really been the case before.\n\nAnd they're still trying some things they're hoping will push you off course. Maybe with luck we'll find our way out of this, and you and I will never meet again.\n----\n*[[I will hope you are right.|Neutral Finale]]\n
Do you not understand what's going to happen?\n----\n*[[I do not.|Don't understand]]\n*[[Yes - I'm going to collide with your planet.|Going to collide]]\n*[[Yes - I'm going to die.|Going to die]]\n
Rationally, I realize that. You can't control what you've done. You're a ball of stone and ice, at least as far as we know. You've probably been on this course for eons, without making a choice.\n\nIt still doesn't help. If I have to be angry at the universe itself, so be it.\n----\n*[[If it were possible, I would avoid the collision.|Wish I could change]]\n*[[There is nothing I can do to change this.|Can't change]]\n*[[Even if I could, I would not change this.|Wouldn't change]]\n
Because I figure nobody else has. And you should know what will happen here.\n----\n*[[Do you want an apology?|Want an apology]]\n*[[You must realize I had no choice.|Had no choice]]\n
Damn you. That's the last thing I would want. To offer us what comfort you can just means there's one more empathic consciousness that will be lost in this.\n----\n*[[Then perhaps it's best to just accept this.|Accept it]]\n*[[This way my demise can serve a purpose.|Gives me meaning]]\n
Because you're [[probably|Trying to stop me]] going to collide with our planet, and many of us are likely to die, and it feels like someone should at least regret the pain and loss that will come of this.\n----\n*[[I'm not capable of regret.|Can't feel]]\n*[[Why me?|Why me]]\n*[[I had no say in this.|Not my choice]]\n
That's fair. The more we talk about this, the less I feel good about it. At your worst, you're a passive participant in this, with no say over what happens next. But now I'm faced with the more troubling possibility that you know exactly what is happening, that you may bear us no ill will, and that you are merely unable to change.\n\nI should be angry at our leaders. I should be angry at the people who mocked all those who predicted this. I should be angry at us, not at a rock.\n\nI should stop feeling bad, and start fighting back.\n\nFor what it's worth, I don't think I hate you.\n----\n*[[I understand.|Up Finale]]\n
It's not you alone. I realize that. I haven't completely lost touch with reality.\n\nBut you are a symbol. You're the first volley launched by an invisible adversary who we've ignored. You're the only face we have for that enemy, and as we hate it, we will hate you.\n----\n*[[To what purpose?|To what purpose]]\n*[[What will you do with this anger?|What happens next]]\n
I somehow doubt your existence has been as varied as ours, or that your destruction here will make the universe a lesser place. You may have preceded us, but your existence seems to have been defined by emptiness, isolation, and, I would wager, irrelevance.\n\nBut if you feel coming first makes harming us acceptable, then so be it. I will disagree.\n----\n*[[Does attacking me also make this easier on you?|Attacking me]]\n*[[My fate is not mine nor yours to debate.|Not up for debate]]\n*[[Accept what must be.|Accept it]]\n
That may be for the best. Sometimes I think it would be easier if we didn't have to endure feelings like this, and could look at it rationally instead. Some will be lost, but most of us will survive, and rebuild, and go on. People die for equally futile purposes and trivial reasons every day. This is just a temporary escalation in the statistics.\n\nI wish I could look at it like that. It would be easier, to be sure. But when I search for that inside me, all I find is the anger again.\n----\n*[[I agree, it doesn't seem fair.|Doesn't seem fair]]\n*[[I can't change this.|Can't change]]\n
I think somehow that makes this worse. If you wish you could avoid us, avoid this calamity, but can't, then you're just one more victim in this. You'll be destroyed, as surely as many of us will be, simply because of a chance meeting of bodies. Another senseless death, and another consciousness capable of empathy and reason snuffed out.\n\nI'm sorry this is happening to you as well. I will remember you, when this is done.\n----\n*[[Thank you.|Up Finale]]\n
In a sense. It provides motivation, anyway. It's odd to think of it this way, but sometimes defiant petulance is one of our strengths. We will do things simply because someone tells us we can't, and go places because someone tells us it's not for us.\n\nMaybe we'll start looking beyond this world, or at least start thinking about how to protect it, after this encounter with you. You make us realize that the Universe isn't concerned with us, and while our planet may seem ancient and timeless from our perspective, it may in fact be a fragile vessel flying through a hailstorm. If you and the rest of the solar mine field want to challenge our existence, then we'll defy you just to say you can't tell us what we're allowed to do.\n----\n*[[It seems childish.|Childish]]\n*[[Then surviving this will make you safer.|Safer]]\n
In a way I guess you have, but just as you can't control your path, I don't think you can really take any credit for the benefit we will draw from this event.\n----\n*[[Would you say, then, that you still hate me?|Still hate me]]\n*[[Then this is how it must be.|Neutral Finale]]\n
But not as you are now. You become part of something larger, but what you are now is lost. Do you feel anything because of that?\n----\n*[[Perhaps it is my destiny.|For a reason]]\n*[[I don't believe I can.|Can't feel]]\n*[[I wish I could prevent this.|Wish I could change]]\n\n
I know that, I do.\n\nI guess it just felt good to have something to blame, while we wait. We still don't even know if you're going to hit us, or if they'll manage to turn you away. That makes it even harder, because we can't resign ourselves to this. The fear mingles with doubt, and it just makes us feel small.\n----\n*[[You should focus on more practical concerns.|Focus on practical]]\n*[[I would not blame you for hating me.|Hate me]]\n
Then so be it. Perhaps you're right. I don't think I'll ever be able to see it that way.\n----\n*[[Very well.|Neutral Finale]]\n
I'm not sure. It just feels like someone should feel bad for this.\n----\n*[[But this isn't my choice.|Not my choice]]\n*[[Why?|Why should someone feel bad]]\n*[[That doesn't make sense.|Doesn't make sense]]\n
That's right, and depending on where you land, you're going to kill a lot of people. Doesn't that bother you?\n----\n*[[Not really.|Doesn't bother me]]\n*[[Do you think I'm doing this on purpose?|You blame me]]\n*[[What if it did bother me? What could I do?|What if it bothered me]]\n
Easy to say now. We knew this could happen, but we also knew there could be earthquakes, or floods, or famines, or endless wars upon wars.\n\nWe knew a dozen ways at least that we could wipe ourselves out in a generation, or that Earth itself could shrug and throw our whole society into disorder. Who has the time and resources to post guards to watch the skies for every cosmic pebble and rubble pile, on the off chance one might come our way?\n\nThey argued it was irresponsible to prepare for such things to the exclusion of other matters. Even knowing that this has happened, I'm still not sure their reasoning was flawed.\n----\n*[[Then perhaps this needs to happen.|Needs to happen]]\n*[[And in the end, the price will be high.|Price seems high]]\n
I'm not sure what I expected from this conversation. I think I just need to say something, and know that you're listening.\n----\n*[[Very well.|I hate you]]\n
Perhaps so. Maybe that's the lesson we'll learn from this, and it will never threaten us again.\n\nBut I give you no thanks for this lesson, that you teach us without humility or empathy. Yours will be an empty death, the end of an empty existence, and I will spend no more time on you.\n----\n*[[Very well.|Down Finale]]\n
I know. I know this is stupid. I blame a rock for colliding with us, as if it bears us malice. I might as well hate the rain for falling and the wind for blowing.\n\nThis is a pointless and pathetic exercise. I need to get a grip on myself and start thinking about what happens next. And that starts with not having conversations with inanimate objects.\n\nSo, goodbye.\n----\n*[[Very well.|Neutral Finale]]\n
I hope so. For now it sounds like they will, but that tends to be the case in a crisis. Give it time, and it may again become unpopular to spend time and resources on what-ifs and unknowns.\n----\n*[[And the odds of another impact are quite low.|Odds are low]]\n*[[Then this needs to happen at least once.|Needs to happen]]\n
We'll talk ourselves out of feeling threatened, if we think about it too calmly. We'll tell ourselves that an impact is statistically extremely rare, and the probability of another situation like this occurring anytime soon is near zero. That's not what probability means, but that won't matter. We'll focus on more pressing concerns, and more immediate dangers, and this will be forgotten.\n\nBut if the villains, the asteroid and its kind, threaten us with extinction at any time, then we'll do what we must to defy our hated enemy.\n\nAnd in the end, that will save us.\n----\n*[[Very well.|Neutral Finale]]\n
That's fair. We might have stopped this, if we'd planned far enough in advance for this possibility.\n\nBut we only had so much time and resources. What should we have done instead? How could we know what could wait and what we needed now, when something like this can come out of nowhere?\n----\n*[[I can't answer that for you.|Can't answer for you]]\n*[[This consequence is significant. Perhaps it should have been the priority.|Should have done something]]\n*[[Maybe this is just something that needs to happen.|Needs to happen]]\n
Not me personally. I'm far from where you're expected to strike. But I don't have to personally be in danger to hate you for this.\n----\n*[[You say "strike" as if I intend this to happen.|You blame me]]\n*[[Is it your place to hate what does not harm you?|Why are you involved]]\n*[[Can they not simply flee? I am far away now.|Can they flee]]\n
It does. It doesn't matter to me whether it makes sense. I need to say what we're feeling, to the closest thing we have to an adversary here. Knowing that there's something out there I can blame for the catastrophe we likely face does make it a little easier. \n\nAnd I don't feel at all bad about this -- knowing that you can hear me, and maybe understand what this impact will mean to us, only helps. I want you to feel bad about what is happening here, because of you.\n----\n*[[You can be angry at me, if it help you|Be mad at me]]\n*[[It's unfortunate you feel this way.|Unfortunate]]\n*[[It might be more beneficial to just accept this.|Accept it]]\n
I know it's not. You don't have any control over this. But you're the focal point of this crisis, and I don't know if I can explain why, but blaming you somehow feels better than just hating the universe, or fate, or just terrible luck. I can watch the fuzzy images of you, and hate you for what you're doing.\n----\n*[[That doesn't make sense.|Doesn't make sense]]\n*[[Does it make you feel better?|Does blame help]]\n*[[You do have control over this, or you could have.|Blame yourselves]]\n
It is, though, because that's all that I can see. I admit my bias, but I don't think it's invalid. What benefit comes of this event may not be seen for years, for eons. There may never be a positive side to this, just death and destruction.\n\nSo I will continue to hate you.\n----\n*[[Very well.|Down Finale]]\n
<html><img id="asteroidImage" style="display: none;" src="images/asteroid.png"></html>
I guess that should make me feel better. It doesn't, really. I know I said that's what I wanted, but... I don't know.\n\nI think I just need to be mad at someone right now, and there isn't anyone.\n----\n*[[It's best to accept this and move on.|Accept it]]\n*[[I can serve that purpose.|Be mad at me]]\n
Ophion was encouraged by his time speaking with the voice of the blue planet. While angry about the harm that would come to them, and their inability to prevent or avoid it, the voice gave Ophion the impression that the people of this world might learn from this and move on to a more productive response in the future.\n\nOphion understood these people fairly quickly, and hoped they would grow and move beyond this impact. The voice realized that hate, though comforting in a troubled time, would not serve them forever, and that letting go of the hatred of Ophion would be best for them all.\n\nAnd by some small degree, the Universe understood itself better.\n----\n*[[What if this conversation had taken another course?|I hate you]]\n*[[This is how it must be.|How it must be]]\n
The chance of another impact at any given moment is close to zero, but we're also not going anywhere anytime soon. The only certainty is that eventually something else will hit this planet, and either we learn to protect it, or we learn to leave it.\n----\n*[[So this could be good for you.|It's good for you]]\n*[[My impact could end up saving you.|Have I helped]]\n
No argument there. There is a feeling in some circles here that this will be the event that saves us down the road - a warning shot across our bow. We'll be bloodied, but we'll survive, and be the wiser for it.\n----\n*[[So perhaps this needed to happen.|Needs to happen]]\n*[[The price still seems high.|Price seems high]]\n*[[But the odds of another impact are so low.|Odds are low]]\n
They have their reasons. We didn't see you coming until just recently, so we haven't had much time to prepare. It's winter in the area where they think you'll collide with us, so they've had trouble moving people around effectively, especially when they still don't know exactly where the impact will be.\n\nMany have left, but many still remain. Most likely, a great number of them will be lost.\n----\n*[[And you blame me for this?|You blame me]]\n*[[That is not my concern.|Doesn't bother me]]\n
Maybe if we had found you sooner, but it's too late for many of them now. They don't yet know where the impact will be, and those who can't travel quickly enough are as likely to move towards the impact as away from it.\n\nFor many of them, their only hope is to hide, and hope the worst does not come to pass.\n----\n*[[Do they hate me too?|Others hate me]]\n
Hello?\n----\n*[[Hello?|Who is this]]\n*[[...|Silence]]\n
I can't believe I'm trying to talk to a rock.\n----\n*[[Hello?|Who is this]]\n*[[...|Continued Silence]]\n
Irrationality isn't always to be avoided, I say. Seeing you as the symbol of what could destroy us, and hating you, could be the lens to focus us on a better plan for our futures. It may not make sense, but in the end it could save our lives.\n\nSometimes our instincts have to be trusted. I will hate you, and so will others. And when the time comes to decide on our priorities as a people, we will remember how much we hated you, and let that anger guide us.\n----\n*[[It seems like childish reasoning.|Childish]]\n*[[Is accomplishment not enough to motivate you?|Achievement]]\n*[[Why not focus on self-preservation?|Save yourself]]\n
By the last estimates I've seen, it will be thousands of us. There's a chance it will be more than a million of us.\n----\n*[[Are you among them?|Will I kill you]]\n*[[That seems a small number, overall.|That's not many]]\n*[[It sounds like you blame me for this.|You blame me]]\n
Yesterday I would have said no. But knowing that you understand what's going on... I suppose this isn't any more fair to you than it is to us. You have your own existence, and this will be the end of it.\n----\n*[[But it isn't. I will become a part of your world.|Part of you]]\n*[[Then perhaps I should hate as well, but I can't.|Can't feel]]\n*[[I can't know what will come. My destruction could be for the best.|For a reason]]\n
If you don't care what we think of you, then I know there's nothing I can do about that. I just realized that it's safe to assume nobody has tried to tell you what this is like for us. Maybe it won't do any good, but I can accept that.\n\nBut just in case it somehow gets through to a consciousness that can feel something, I wanted you to know the pain you're going to cause us, and that at least some of us hate you for that.\n----\n*[[It is an irrational anger.|Irrational]]\n*[[Many of your kind feel this way?|Others hate]]\n*[[Can you justify my demise?|I die too]]\n\n\n
I'm sure some do, and some do not. Some are likely without hate, at peace with whatever will come. Some are angry at their scientists and their governments for letting it come to this. Some don't have time for any of this; they think only of how to live through this, and how to help others survive.\n----\n*[[Does it help for them to blame me?|Does blame help]]\n*[[Does my demise also trouble you?|Do you regret my destruction]]\n*[[I can't control what happens|Not my fault]]\n
Anger provides focus. Hating you gives me an image to hold in mind while I think of how this shouldn't be allowed to happen.\n\nI guess blaming you gives me a way to feel like something other than a victim in this. Even if I'm not personally in danger, we all feel as if we're being attacked here, as a species. We need to learn what threatens us, and to be angry at it. That's how we survive.\n----\n*[[That doesn't matter to me.|I don't care]]\n*[[I don't see how that helps.|Doesn't make sense]]\n
The one thing I'm sure of is that nobody else is hearing this. Either you're the asteroid, or I've lost my mind. Either way, I think we need to talk.\n----\n*[[Very well.|I hate you]]\n
A great many do hate you, I think. It doesn't much matter whether you mean us harm or not. You're the closest thing we have to a common enemy, a strange face to put on a suddenly real and terrible threat.\n\nThey will hate you, as I do, because it will help them through the night. They have an image in their mind when they ask their gods how fate could inflict such cruelty. They have a name to put on the fear that our Universe might shrug us off and forget us in the blink of an eye, and all our cleverness and machinations may not save us.\n----\n*[[It makes no sense.|Irrational]]\n*[[Their hate strengthens them?|Anger makes you strong]]\n
I hate you.\n----\n*[[Why?|Why do you hate me]]\n*[[I think I understand.|I understand]]\n*[[What purpose does that serve?|For what purpose]]\n*[[What do you expect me to say to that?|What do you expect]]\n*[[I don't care.|I don't care]]\n*[[I don't know what that means.|What is hate]]\n*[[That doesn't make sense.|Doesn't make sense]]\n*[[...|No reaction]]\n
Maybe that's all we are. It seems reasonable that's what we are when compared to you, anyway.\n\nBut being childish implies the potential to mature and grow. I believe we have that potential, but to get there, we have to survive. If hating you gives us that focus, then I'll embrace it, for the good of us all.\n\nYour journey ends, but with luck ours is still only beginning, and our "childish" thinking may be what propels us to an unimaginable future.\n----\n*[[Very well.|Neutral Finale]]\n
That's kind of you.\n\nThat's a strange thing to say to a rock.\n\nI think you're right. This isn't about you. And I don't think I'm getting anything healthy out of this. Hating the thing that hurts you is just another way of being a victim.\n\nI think we're done here, asteroid. To be honest, I think this helped, so thank you.\n----\n*[[It is good that you took something positive from this.|Up Finale]]\n
The ancient body travels along its orbit, passing near a small blue planet with a single tiny satellite.\n\nThe inhabitants of the planet know the body as Asteroid 2013 GM3. In recent times, they have taken to calling it Ophion - calling you Ophion.\n\nAs you pass near the blue planet, one among the countless similar frequencies you have experienced in your time comes to the fore, and a voice emerges.\n----\n*[[Listen to the voice.|Hello]]\n
In the end, I agree, it probably will be good for us. But there are many ways a lesson may be learned, and the result does not necessarily justify the method of the teaching.\n\nEven if an impact is necessary to make this danger real to us, could you not land in the seas that make up most of our world? Or in one of the many barren, isolated areas, where there is little life to be lost?\n\nSome good may come of this, but that does not negate the loss.\n----\n*[[Would an impact without loss be feared?|Loss is necessary]]\n*[[So would you still say you hate me?|Still hate me]]\n
I hope so.\n\nAnd I guess we'll have you to thank if that comes to pass, which makes it difficult to be angry with you.\n\nI'll try to focus on what can be done more than who I can blame. And that means no more talking to you.\n\nFarewell.\n----\n*[[Farewell.|Up Finale]]\n
It's not just a matter of blame. Maybe I shouldn't assume the rest of the universe thinks the way we do. I'll try to explain.\n\nIf someone here on our planet had to inconvenience or harm someone else, and there was no way to avoid it, one might expect that person to express some kind of regret or sympathy, or at least an acknowledgement that their trajectory through life has somehow made someone else's existence worse in some way, even if it's only temporary.\n\nMaybe I assume too much, but I suppose I'm not in a conciliatory place today. People will most likely die soon, because of you, and I think the least you could do is regret it.\n----\n*[[Then I regret your loss.|I regret your loss]]\n*[[I was set on this course long before you existed.|I came first]]\n*[[It is unfortunate this must happen.|Unfortunate]]\n
I'm not sure. I mean, I assume you can't change your course, or alter yourself somehow. I know this whole conversation is a little outside of the normal to begin with, but that part is still true, right?\n----\n* [[That's correct.|Can't change]]\n* [[I would if it were possible.|Wish I could change]]\n* [[Nor would I want to.|Wouldn't change]]\n
That's cold comfort at best. You aren't big enough to cause any major changes to our world. You won't bring about a new era. You'll just kill, indiscriminately, and destroy. You'll leave a scar that won't fade for generations.\n\nIt's just as likely you'll cause great harm to us, for no greater purpose. Any number of great minds and noble spirits may be lost. A million stories may be cut short, all at once, with no ending written for them. Just a tragedy, senseless.\n----\n*[[It's all I have to offer.|All I have to offer]]\n*[[Perhaps my effect on your people is not the only consideration.|Not just you]]\n
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I don't need to be in danger to be angry with you. So many people will be taken from us soon. Whole cities may be lost. Families will be broken. Children, frightened and confused, will die. This is a kind of suffering that lessens us, as a species. And you are the reason for this.\n----\n*[[Does blaming me ease your pain?|Does blame help]]\n*[[This does not concern me.|Doesn't bother me]]\n*[[Can they not flee? I am still far away.|Can they flee]]\n
An asteroid? A small body orbiting a star without the size or other characteristics of a planet?\n----\n*[[That sounds like a fair description.|I am the asteroid]]\n*[[I will accept your description. You seem sure I am what you say I am.|Not possible]]\n
Hate is... I don't know. It's hard to explain. If you did something intentionally harmful to me or someone else, I would be angry at you. Hate is when you're angry at who someone is, or angry at the very existence of something.\n\nYour entire existence, as far as I'm concerned, involves colliding with my planet and potentially killing thousands and thousands of people. I hate everything that you are.\n----\n*[[What will you do with this feeling?|What will you do]]\n*[[Why do you hate?|Why hate]]\n*[[Why should I care?|Why should I care]]\n
Wow. I think at this point the only way this conversation could be a worse sign for my mental state would be if you started to talk back to me. I'm going to take this as a pretty clear sign I need to rethink how I'm handling this.\n\nGoodbye, rock. I hope your impact is in some way horrible and painful, while you kill us.\n----\n*[[So be it.|Down Finale]]\n
Is this... I mean, am I speaking to the [[asteroid]] that's going to collide with our planet soon?\n----\n*[[Yes, I am the asteroid.|I am the asteroid]]\n*[[I don't know.|I don't know]]\n*[[I don't think that's possible.|Not possible]]\n
I suppose so. I admit I hadn't really thought of it that way, because you're probably going to kill a lot of us too.\n----\n*[[There's nothing I can do about that.|Can't change]]\n*[[Are you trying to stop me?|Trying to stop me]]\n*[[Are those in danger fleeing?|Can they flee]]\n\n
With luck, it will help us focus. You'll be the symbol of a terrible harm that we allowed to happen. Maybe we can figure out how to prevent this from happening to us again.\n\nBut for now, honestly... the hate is probably just a welcome distraction. We can focus on you, on the blurry images on the news of the tiny speck that is throwing so much of our society to the wind, our Sword of Damocles, and hate you.\n----\n*[[Why not be angry at those who could have prevented this?|Wrong target]]\n*[[Is this helpful?|Does it help]]\n
It's insulting, I suppose, that we should be trampled underfoot by our Universe without so much as a second thought.\n\nOr maybe I just need to blame someone.\n\nI don't know. I have more anger than I know what to do with. Of course they say now we could have prevented this if we'd taken it more seriously. We could have seen you earlier, or tried more things to move you off course, if we'd spent more of our time and resources on it. Why couldn't you have waited? Why now?\n----\n*[[You know I have no control over that.|I have no control]]\n*[[This is beyond my understanding.|Not capable of caring]]\n\n
Because you're the reason for this. You're why people are hiding, or running.\n\nPeople are preparing to die. Entire cities might be lost. All because of you.\n----\n*[[How can I be at fault for what I haven't chosen?|Not my choice]]\n*[[Why not blame those who could have stopped me?|Blame yourselves]]\n*[[Your planet is as much to blame as I am.|Earth's fault]]\n
But this is our home, our comfortable orbit. We've done more with it. Our planet hosts countless life forms, and has done so for ages. We hope it will far into the future as well.\n\nBut part of that will be destroyed by, as far as we can tell, a small, lifeless rock, that just happens to be crossing our path at the wrong time.\n----\n*[[But unlike me, you could have done something to stop me.|Blame yourselves]]\n*[[Maybe this needs to happen.|Needs to happen]]\n
Because I need to. Because someone should regret this. Because someone needs to be held accountable for this. Because life has not given us a culprit to hate, and it isn't right.\n----\n*[[You want an apology?|Want an apology]]\n*[[How will this help?|How does it help]]\n*[[You must realize I didn't choose this|Had no choice]]\n
When you collide with us, you'll hit an area where many people live. Those who are nearby will be killed.\n----\n*[[How many will be harmed?|Many will die]]\n*[[That does not concern me.|Doesn't bother me]]\n*[[Can they flee? I am still far away.|Can they flee]]\n*[[Why have they not already left?|Why not evacuate]]\n*[[Why are you telling me this?|What do you expect]]\n
No, it doesn't. But I suppose there's nothing to be done about it now.\n\nI'm going to wait for the impact with my family. I'm sorry I hate you. I can't really justify it, but I'm also not really in a mood to justify myself.\n----\n*[[Farewell.|Neutral Finale]]\n\n
I think it will be easier now to convince people to consider dangers like this, the rare cosmic coincidences that could erase us entirely if we don't take steps to avoid them.\n\nThis may well hurt us dearly, but it could also be the first step we take towards a larger existence. Years ago one of our world's leaders said we choose to do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. It was in that time that we took the first steps off of our planet.\n\nPerhaps we need to personify the greater Universe, and you as its symbol, as a place that does not want us, and does not think we are ready. Sometimes we need expectations, so we can defy them.\n----\n*[[So this may help you move forward.|Move forward]]\n*[[Is the achievement itself not motivation enough?|Achievement]]\n
I do, I suppose. I know it's not rational, so don't bother telling me. You're the reason this is happening.\n----\n*[[Does it help to blame me?|Does blame help]]\n*[[What if I blame myself as well?|What if it bothered me]]\n*[[But this is not my fault.|Not my fault]]\n*[[This doesn't concern me.|Doesn't bother me]]\n
A man said to the universe:\n"Sir, I exist!"\n"However," replied the universe,\n"The fact has not created in me \n"A sense of obligation."\n\nWho was that... Bierce? Crane? Doesn't sound like Twain. I think it was Crane.\n\nWhy am I torturing myself like this? It's not like there's anything I could do about this. It's not my job to be angry on behalf of us all.\n\nGoodbye, rock. Odds are good you're going to cause a great deal of pain in the moment of your own death. I hope it was worth the journey.\n----\n*[[...|Neutral Finale]]\n\n
I think that's what made me hate you so. Wouldn't a scare suffice? Do we really need to lose a part of ourselves to learn this lesson?\n----\n*[[So do you still hate me?|Still hate me]]\n*[[Maybe you do.|Loss is necessary]]\n
We might as well find some benefit in this. It's the only way we have to fight back. This blow may well land, but at least there's the chance we'll be ready to deflect the next one.\n----\n*[[In light of that, how do you feel about me?|Have I helped]]\n*[[So in the end, this is good for you.|It's good for you]]\n
I suppose not, compared to how many will survive. I'm sorry I can't look at that way. It's a huge number of people to die for no reason, just because you happened to cross our orbit. It's unfair.\n----\n*[[So you blame me?|You blame me]]\n*[[These deaths are not my fault.|Not my fault]]\n
It's the only explanation that makes any sense. Granted, it doesn't make much sense, but there's no way anyone else is receiving this, or responding to it. Right?\n----\n*[[It seems so.|I am the asteroid]]\n*[[Is it not more likely you're mistaken?|You must be wrong]]\n
Well it doesn't matter if you're listening. You're probably going to collide with us soon, and before that happens, I need to tell you something.\n----\n*[[...|I hate you]]\n
I think so. I think many of us know now what you represent. We've spent a long time here, with all of our eggs in this one fragile little basket. We've been complacent. We've been cocky.\n\nPeople will have a visceral reaction to the thought of an asteroid impact now. When they think of it, or talk about it, they'll think of you. They'll see all the images we end up with. If you do hit us, they'll see all the images of the aftermath, the wreckage and the loss.\n\nAnd when it's time to talk about preventing this from happening again, they will be angry, and they will be resolute. And in the end, that might just save us. And I suppose we'll have you to thank for that, though I don't expect many tears to be shed for your sacrifice.\n----\n*[[So be it.|Neutral Finale]]\n
Yes, it is unfortunate.\n\nI shouldn't expect empathy. You can't understand what this means to us. Your existence, as you are now, will end soon, and that will be all, I guess. Just the end to a long, predetermined journey.\n----\n*[[That's correct.|Poem]]\n*[[It might be best to simply accept that.|Accept it]]\n
Rationally, yes, I realize that. And I don't care. I also shouldn't be able to talk to you, either, but here we are.\n\nIn a universe where this conversation is happening, something should be possible to avoid this. Someone could have changed it. In the absence of a directly culpable party, I will blame you. If I can't see who strikes at me, then I will hate the fist.\n----\n*[[So you want an apology for something I can't control?|Want an apology]]\n*[[There is no reason in this conversation.|Doesn't make sense]]\n
Maybe. Maybe we're getting off lucky this time, comparatively speaking. There's certainly a lot of attention being paid to this kind of danger now.\n\nPerhaps we needed a slap in the face to shock us into acting.\n----\n*[[This will make you stronger.|It's good for you]]\n*[[The price seems high.|Price seems high]]\n*[[You deserve this consequence.|Could have stopped me]]\n
I concede that the loss may be necessary. It's easier to dismiss a threat that has never come to pass, no matter how close you've come to it in the past. This will hurt us, but it will drive us forward.\n----\n*[[Then do you still hate me?|Still hate me]]\n*[[Then through this impact, I've helped you?|Have I helped]]\n
They're trying a few things. They sent a ship to pull you away from us. I don't know if you've noticed it. I suppose if you haven't, that's not good for us.\n\nThere's also something they're trying involving lasers, but to be honest I don't really understand what they're doing.\n\nIt doesn't sound like they're sure any of it will be enough.\n----\n*[[Can they flee? I'm still far away.|Can they flee]]\n*[[Will many be affected if they fail?|Many will die]]\n
You're going to collide with our planet. They're not sure exactly where yet, but right now it looks like there's a good chance you'll hit a populated area. If that happens, a lot of us are going to die.\n----\n*[[And you blame me for this?|You blame me]]\n*[[Are you trying to stop me?|Trying to stop me]]\n*[[Will I kill you?|Will I kill you]]\n
And so it was.\n\nGoodbye, Ophion.
That question alone could easily explain why I hate you, and why many others do too. The notion that some drifting rock could slam into us and cause such pain and loss is bad enough, but the truly intolerable part is the idea that you don't even understand why we might expect you to care.\n----\n*[[But I'm not capable of caring.|Not capable of caring]]\n*[[Why would my thoughts matter?|Why it matters]]\n
No, I don't suppose it would. Can you at least tell me it's because you're not capable of feeling regret, or guilt, or sadness? I'd prefer to believe that anyway, rather than to think you could do this and simply not care.\n----\n* [[I am not capable of such a response.|Can't feel]]\n* [[Why would I regret what I do not intend and cannot change?|Not my fault]]\n* [[Do you likewise regret my destruction?|Do you regret my destruction]]\n* [[I wish I could change this.|Wish I could change]]\n
I don't know if I should shy away from that assertion, but I won't. Yes, we are that important. We have a right to exist because we have declared it to be so. It doesn't matter to me if the lifeless detritus of our solar neighborhood doesn't share our perspective on the matter. If the choice is between us and you, then there's no debate to be had.\n\nI will watch you on the news, asteroid, and each day I will hope they have turned you away, or burned off pieces of you so you fall into the sun in time. We don't deserve this, and your existence is not worth the price we may pay for it.\n----\n*[[So be it.|Down Finale]]\n
...If a tree falls on my house, who do I blame for the damage, and who do I hate? My house, for not being strong enough? The tree, for falling? The wind that blew it over? The acorn that fell a century ago? Someone else who could have warned me? Fate?\n\nIf there is any blame to be had, I should blame myself. I did not acknowledge the danger, even where it was plain to see, and I did nothing to prevent it.\n\nLater I will be reasonable. I will hate our failure to plan for this, and I will do what I can to move us forward. But for now, I will hate you, because it will lessen the pain for a while.\n----\n*[[Very well.|Neutral Finale]]\n
I won't see this as a good thing. This could cause thousands of deaths, easily, and that can't be overlooked.\n\nIf you come close enough to cause this panic, then miss us, then perhaps I'll look at this as something that needed to happen, to shake us from complacency.\n\nBut right now it looks like you will hit us, and there will be pain, and loss, and death, that did not need to be.\n\nI may not hate you when this is done, asteroid, but there will not come a day when I'm glad this happened. That's the best I can do.\n----\n*[[I understand|Neutral Finale]]\n
That's part of it, to be sure, but there are many challenges for us to face. Given the choice, we'll aim for the one that someone tells us we can't achieve. If we need an antagonist to tell us we can't protect ourselves in the face of an unfeeling Universe, then so be it.\n\nI may not be able to convince myself of that much longer, but if that's what we need to believe as a people to do what we must to survive, then I don't have any problem with that.\n----\n*[[I see.|Neutral Finale]]
It would be difficult for Ophion to say that any good had come of this interaction with the voice from the blue planet. The voice's anger and hate only seemed to increase as the conversation progressed, and even in that short time, the voice's people made less sense to Ophion than they had at the beginning.\n\nPerhaps the voice's people would find a way to use their anger to their benefit, though their reliance on self-delusion and blame gave Ophion pause. It seemed as likely as not that their simple view would not serve them well in their future.\n----\n*[[What if this conversation had taken another course?|I hate you]]\n*[[This is how it must be.|How it must be]]\n
And so Ophion made its way towards the tiny blue planet. Ophion was aware of what lay ahead in the near future, while still powerless to change anything. The voice's people would be lost, Ophion would cease to be, and it was questionable whether any good would come of this.\n\nIt seemed the voice would continue to blame Ophion for what was to come, and the people of the blue planet remained a mystery to Ophion, while impact drew ever closer.\n----\n*[[What if this conversation had taken another course?|I hate you]]\n*[[This is how it must be.|How it must be]]\n
Michael McCollum
Maybe a little hate will wake us up and get us thinking about the long view.\n\nMaybe it gives people a common enemy to work against.\n\nMaybe we just need to have someone to blame today, so we don't feel quite so impotent.\n----\n*[[But it has no logic.|Irrational]]\n*[[Do you expect some good to come of that?|What happens next]]\n*[[So your anger gives you strength?|Anger makes you strong]]\n
This probably isn't the healthiest conversation I've ever attempted to engage in. I guess at this point I'm quite literally shouting my displeasure into the skies and shaking my fists at the universe.\n\nYou're not there, are you? I'm talking into a transmitter pointed in the general direction of a tiny rock in space, telling it I'm angry.\n----\n*[[...|Poem]]\n*[[I am listening|Listening]]\n
It seems to me you should at least feel bad about this. There's nothing to gain in this for you, either. It's just the end of a long voyage that could end anywhere. Nothing of note will come of it. First you'll be, and then you won't.\n\nBut for us, the cost may be terrible. In the worst projections, we could lose over a million people. Lives and dreams and stories and bloodlines cut short, to what end? So some tiny spec of dust could settle here, instead of any other uninhabited spot?\n\nI hate you for that.\n----\n*[[...|No reaction 3]]\n*[[So why tell me this?|Why tell me]]\n*[[But I had no choice in this.|Had no choice]]\n
We are important to ourselves, and that is what brought us to where we are. I guess that sounds egotistical, but the notion that we deserve to exist has taught us to fight, and struggle, and strive.\n\nYou are all that we are not, and none will mourn your passing.\n----\n*[[So be it.|Down Finale]]\n
I think I'm happy to hear that. It's easier to realize you deserve this hate. The idea that you could prevent this, and simply won't... I don't know how you can think, how you can reason, and not change this. This will lead to countless deaths, including yours, and you would let it happen.\n\nWhy?\n----\n*[[It is inevitable.|Inevitable]]\n*[[You overestimate your importance.|Not so important]]\n*[[You could have stopped me.|Could have stopped me]]\n