Beyond Sustainability

The people elect the president. The president appoints the admiral. The admiral tasks the battle group. The commodore commands the engineer, who activates the hyperdrive, made possible by the scientist's breakthrough. The ships orbit the exoplanet.

The society grows beyond sustainability. The colonists select the exoplanet, discovered by the astronomer, and depart on a ship funded by the billionaire. The child discovers the natives. The parent expresses fear to the mayor. The mayor prioritizes the colony. The relationship strains.

The tension threatens violence. In orbit above the exoplanet, in a metal shell lit only by the local star, the planet's albedo, and electricity, the captain overreacts and orders the weapons officer to fire on the natives' position. The weapons officer relays the command to the gunnery officer, who directs it to a gunner's mate, whose team targets and fires the missile. The missile, designed by a dozen people and refined by hundreds more, flies to the exoplanet and activates its artificial intelligence. The artificial intelligence, designed by the programmer and taught by thousands of hours of input from the people, selects its target among the many on the ground and primes the explosive. The explosive detonates.

Who is the murderer?