The last dreadnought (aka what is the speed of goodness ?)
By the year 2500 AD man had established some presence on all the planets of Sol. He had also gone out to the nearest stars with manned and unmanned missions.
However travel and communication beyond the seemingly inflexible limit of the speed of light had evaded him.
Still, in all, man seemed confident as to his relative position in the Universe. He had gone out to the stars and encountered no evidence of intelligent life, superior or otherwise. He had just about concluded that we truly were alone in the Universe, the only worthy intelligence.
On Earth itself things were not that good. The problems that had plagued man for centuries seemed incapable of resolution and one or two newer problems had been added to the list.
Meanwhile a great alien starship sped on a general course for Sol at only marginally beyond the speed of light. At such a speed it was not detectable by man. The ship which had been traveling now on automatic systems for thousands of years was gradually slowing down. What its speed might have been when it first undertook it's journey did not bear thinking about.
The first portents that things were improving on Earth came very slowly. Modest improvements in a climate ravaged by global warming, small and inexplicable improvements in the tolerance of man and quite modest economic improvements .
No one knew why these changes were occurring. A number of explanations were advanced, all of which were wide of the mark. Eventually, somewhere near the edge of Sol, the great star ship fell below light speed and left hyperspace for normal space. Very soon after this it was first detected by man. No one, no one at all made any connection between the starship and Earth's improved circumstances.
The huge blunt cigar shape dreadnought fully 20 kilometres in length, was seen by man as a threat, and he acted accordingly.
I will not document here man's attempts to destroy the great starship, simply because these are unworthy of documentation. Man's best efforts and most feared weapons made no impact whatsoever upon the starships defensive shields.
As the alien starship moved deeper into the solar system the improved circumstances of the Earth began to snowball. This was such that even the most dimwitted Admiral, General or paper shuffling bureaucrat at Earth Central Command could not help but see a correlation.
Energies of an unknown nature irradiated from the mighty dreadnought and no man or woman could deny the beneficial effect of these on the Earth and indeed all manned installations in our star system. The irradiations took various forms some subtle, some less so. The most obvious effects were on the general tolerance and well being of humankind but there were many less obvious effects.
As the dreadnought came at it's closest point to Earth conditions could be described as close to heavenly – at least in terms of mans tolerance for his fellow man. And when men are of such a mind there is much that might be accomplished. Seeing it's beneficial effects men desired to slow or even stop the great starship but no power known to them could delay it's progress even for an instant.
The dreadnoughts approach took it within less than 20 million miles from the sun before it began its exit from the solar system. Which for mankind was all too quick.
As it sped away from us the beneficial effect of the dreadnoughts irradiations dwindled.
By the time it left our star systems mankind had almost returned to normal, although some small residual element of goodness seemed to persist. For a time men attempted to follow the dreadnought on its continuing journey beyond our star system. To somehow still harvest its energies. It was an exercise in futility and eventually the dreadnought outpaced its followers.
Long after the dreadnought left us men argued over the basic nature of its irradiations. For want of another word men agreec to think of the irradiations from the ship as irradiations of "goodness" or at least that was their effect. No one knew whether these irradiations were purely incidental or a deliberate action. Certainly mankind had felt the dreadnoughts first effects while it was beyond Sol and travelling in excess of light speed. Which raises the question "what is the speed of goodness ?"
Although mankind still does not know - the answer is a simple one. Within it's relevant range the speed of goodness is infinite.