Vacant Possession

Author: Roger Ley

This is the story of two fairly skinny white men on a planet that was dying fast.

Of course, the men were men only in their own eyes, in the eyes of other species they would have looked quite different. Oh, and it wasn’t the planet that was dying it was the planet’s population.

‘How long will it be before we can take vacant possession,’ asked the larger of the two. They had been hovering over the Himalayas, admiring Mount Everest, but now they moved to ponder the vastness of the Saudi Arabian desert.

‘Well, it’s a half-life problem, master. The population will be halved in two planetary rotations and it will be halved again after the next two and so on,’ said the other. They had moved to look down on the magnificence of the nearly empty city of Moscow.

‘So, the hominids will always be here?’

‘Yes, master, but in very small numbers and in an aboriginal form. Their technology will collapse very soon.’

‘We would have preferred an uninhabited planet, but this solution is adequate, I suppose.’

‘The planet will be empty for all practical purposes, master, and it’s hardly our fault if a random virus jumped from one species to another with drastic results. It’s not as if we encouraged the process,’ said the junior of the two, glowing slightly yellow.

‘Just a lucky coincidence then,’ said the older entity wryly. ‘Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers and there’s really nothing left on Mars. We’ll take it. Arrange for the population to move across at the next conjunction. I expect you’ll get an enhancement for this.

‘Thank you, master, you won’t regret this. Let me show you the Antarctic, I’m sure you’ll like the penguins, jolly little fellows, so comical.’ They drifted away.

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