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[2006: NOV-DEC] The Last Contact


Julia Harden
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THE LAST CONTACT

by Julia Harden

He didn’t care one way or the other. This planet, that planet. What did it matter? They’d been watching both for over a century. That small one was interesting but he couldn’t focus on it for any length of time. They’d been out here too long. A decision had to be made and he had to do it. His job.

Marion came into the room and sat next to him.

“Grei, which one? We’re all waiting.”

He shrugged, almost telling her he didn’t care. But he couldn’t do that. They mustn’t know that he’d lost all interest. Forcing himself to stand, Grei muttered, “Earth.”

Why not? he asked himself. They had three of them in the hold screaming what served them as lungs out. Lungs. Pitiful things. He shuffled his way to his desk. He wanted to go home. Marion was sweet, kind. She served him and he served her wants to be important.

Earth. What a sorry planet. They had all but destroyed themselves. What did they have to be chosen for?

Grei left his office/personal rooms and made his way to the cargo hold. Best to send these humans back to their planet first. They could say truthfully that they’d never really harmed any of them. The Arecibo with his large head and small body reached the hold. Grei signaled the scientists to finish their bio-genetic experiments. He watched the probes, wires, and squingies being removed. Always the screaming. When it was done, he congratulated himself once again that he’d stayed and withstood the moans made when all the necessary connections were taken from the human orifices. Not all of the Arecibo could tolerate those bellowing sounds. Their small, slotted ears were highly sensitive.

The humans were given sedatives now so they would sleep while being mercifully teleported back to their homes. The parts taken away from them would be stored for the trip to the home world for further analysis.

~~~

When Marion found him soaking in a vat of brine, she gasped.

“When did you start bathing?” she asked cautiously.

“Nunya,” he answered. His tone was sad, tired. His large eyes had closed, the pin[...]s of his nostrils shut tight over his small mouth. He didn't want to see her. Not today. Later those humans would began the next phase of their journey into space and he was there to witness it. And then he could go home. He was already wanting Marion to be a memory.

“I told the council what you said,” Marion continued, “about it being Earth. Vada thought it should be Tommaso. He tried to argue with me but I told him it was your decision and he shut up.”

Grei’s head moved up and down. Marion continued talking, taking Grei’s nod as a sign she could keep on talking. He didn’t care. Maybe he should have said Tommaso. They hadn’t almost blown themselves away with their petty wars. But they didn’t have satellites in orbit, either. The only thing that Earth had on its side was the effort they’re put into space flight.

He’d known all along that Earth would be the planet they would make contact with. Now, why couldn’t he have told himself that? Grei climbed wearily out of the vat.

Walking through the ship, his small feet silent on the metal deck, Grei returned to his rooms.

“The human’s are sending another ship into space,” Zeta told him from the doorway.

Grei nodded his head up and down in response. He must go and watch this. But he was so very tired. Too much time had passed. If only it was done and then he could go home.

~~~

Later, much later, Grei sat in the red chair that was his to sit in when in the control pit. The space ship, so primitive!, was hurtling through space. He suddenly gripped the arms of his chair and sat upright. The ship had made some kind of adjustment to their power and was streaking across the sky too fast to have seen the Arecibo waiting for them.

“Warp,” he whispered. Then he spoke louder, “They have succeeded in attaining warp speed. Now we must join them on the planet’s surface. Welcome them to space exploration. Marion will do it. I’m too tired,” he finished softly.

Marion moved to Grei’s side. “You mean it? I get to make the first contact with these creatures?”

“Yes,” Grei intoned. “I will get the ship ready for the return journey home. We are finished here.”

Marion’s small mouth was grinning as broadly as it could. She left Grei to make herself and her contingent ready for their landing. Grei would watch from the view port. She didn’t want him there to interfere anyway.

He moved back to his rooms and laid on his small bed. Lifting one long arm, he placed it over his large oval eyes. He would sleep now, perhaps to dream. A dream of his home. He was so very tired.

END

Edited by Julia Harden
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