Author : R. A. Jackson

“What do you think their response is going to be?” The Commander paced in front of the many consoles.

“I don’t know. You’d think it’d be obvious, but the Observer wasn’t optimistic.” Drayden joined the Commander at the viewing panels. They displayed the planetary analysis of a beautiful world. Vital data such as topography, climate, industry, population, and ecology were shown in great detail.

“Damn. These creatures seem to become more and more stubborn the further we travel in this arm of the galaxy. What have we got so far?”

“She’s made contact with the leaders of the major factions. The ones with the necessary resources have been given the offer. Now it’s just a matter of time before we hear their decisions. Unfortunately, from what she reports, they have a lot in common with the Lycaon.”

“Bureaucratic, greedy lot they were.” The Commander grunted at the memory.

“Glad to be rid of them, myself. Could you imagine our race sharing a planet with them? I had hoped that among these billions there’d be a few leaders with sense. Anyway from what the Observer says, I’m not sure they could commit either way in the end.”

“I almost pity them. They have what everyone wants, but they cannot keep it. They cannot unlock the secret to their own treasure because they do not want to share it. What do they call this planet?”

“You’ll find it amusing, sir. It’s called ‘earth.’”

“Terrific. If they accept our offer, do we have to be known as ‘sky’ people? How we keep finding these backward planets is beyond me. I wonder, are you aware that I am the only Commander in the fleet to fail in securing symbiosis upon every contact? I have not succeeded even once. No doubt, it means that my armada is unparalleled in its planetary conquest experience. Nevertheless, it’s rather embarrassing that so many would choose death over sharing their lives with us.”

“You cannot control their decision. It has to come from them. And as I have witnessed time after time, the decision they make on their own is always the right one. To live or to die should always be a matter of choice. No one wants to live with a species that never committed to change in the first place.”

“Quite right, of course.”

The Commander walked back to his chair in the center of the room and sat down heavily. Drayden moved to the communications console as it signalled an incoming message. “It’s the Observer.”

“Answer her.” The image of the Observer appeared on the monitor across from the Commander’s chair.

“Hello, Commander. I’m heading back to you now, sir.”

“Does that mean we have our response?”

“It does, sir. They said no.”

“Better luck next time, Commander.” Drayden smiled grimly as he alerted the fighters to start the invasion. “Think of it this way: there’s no fighting destiny.”

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