Canto Four – In the Classroom on Level Six
“Okay,” said Harmony Castille in her Sunday-school-teacher voice, “The most important lesson is this; Jesus says we must love God with all our heart, and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. He says this law supersedes all others. If we obey such a law, we will never break any other reasonable law either.”
“Are you saying that Earther monkey people have only one law?” asked Xiar with bulging, surprised eyes.
“I’m saying that if you can break a law without also breaking God’s first law, then it wasn’t a sensible law in the first place.”
“So, how do you obey this first law?” asked Farbick, the Fmoogish Lead Science Officer.
“That’s simple too,” said the beautiful young blond woman who had once been a wrinkled old Sunday school teacher. “We call it the Golden Rule. It says that we must do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”
“How do you do an unto?” asked Studpopper, the communications junior officer of very limited intelligence.
“It means…” said Harmony, being used to the stupidity and hard-headedness of children, “If I don’t want you to hit me, then I don’t hit you first. If I don’t want you to call me names and hurt my feelings, then I don’t call you a brainless stupid-head first,”
“Thank you for not calling me a brainless stupid-head,” said brainless stupid-head Studpopper stupidly… but politely.
“You are welcome,” said Harmony.
“But what if someone hits you first?” asked Farbick.
Harmony appreciated the fact that Farbick was quite clever and insightful for a Telleron. “Well,” she replied, “we are trying to teach them what is right by example. If someone hits me in the cheek, I would turn the other cheek.”
“Wouldn’t they just hit you again?” asked Farbick,
“Do you mean a face-cheek? Or a behind sort of cheek?” asked Studpopper the stupid-head.
Harmony ignored the emerald-faced buffoon and answered Farbick instead. “Sometimes they will hit you again, but you must persist in your belief, and continue to only show them patience and love. Against the love of God, no cruel servant of chaos can stand.”
“They hit you on the butt twice?” asked Studpopper.
“They hit you on the part of your anatomy where you brain is located,” said Harmony acidly.
“Oh, you do mean the butt cheek!”
“Yes, of course I do,” the Sunday school teacher said sarcastically.
“Wait a minute,” said Xiar. “I haven’t examined Studpopper that closely, but my brain is in my head.”
“”I like your first law,” said Farbick. “I’m not sure it is practical and would really work, but it is more reasonable and moral than any of the laws of the Tellerons that I am aware of.”
“Yeah,” said Xiar, “Galtorrians will hit first and then eat your cheek. Your idea of love conquering all will only turn you into gourmet monkey burgers.”
“We will see. My God is all powerful.”
“Charlie the Crocodile God says to eat or be eaten,” said Studpopper with a stupid grin on his froggy face.
“Charlie?” asked Harmony.
“His name is actually Chaka-Boogen-Baall,” said Biznap who had been watching the whole lesson with some amusement. “When we learned Galactic English from your old television shows, we found it easier to call him Charlie. He’s really more of a mythic monster representing fear of death. Not the same as this guy you call God.”
Harmony smiled at her Telleron lover. He didn’t believe as easily as she would like, but at least he was supportive.
“Are you sure that these lessons will help us deal with the Galtorrians?” asked Xiar. “I’m not sure I see the benefits.”
“Do you consider them people?” Harmony asked.
“I suppose we do,” said Farbick, “People with big teeth and scaly bodies.”
“Then they are subjects of the true God and live by his rules.”
“The rules of physics and biology,” said Farbick. “I grant you that those rules are universal.”
“The rules of God’s love are no less universal,” insisted Harmony.
“I hope you are right,” said Farbick. “It sounds like a universe we should all want to live in.”