Author : Steven Perez

Ix looked out the main window, sighing as she viewed the once-vibrant blue world below her, now gray and barren. She wondered if the strange fate that befell this place could have been avoided, and was embarrassed to admit that she couldn’t think of any way that it could have been.

“Still mooning over that planet?” she heard Bela say from across the bridge.

Never turning, Ix said in a terse voice, “I’m not mooning. Just sad, is all. Those beings had such potential.”

Her partner made a snorting sound. “Yeah, potential. And how did they spend that potential? Blowing each other up. Polluting their home. Finding new and better ways to damage their own selves. The universe is better off with them gone to dust, if you ask me. A race like that would just end up causing more trouble that they’re worth.”

Now Ix did turn around. “And all those other species – did they deserve their fates, too?”

Bela fixed on her a level gaze and said, “That was their concern. That’s why we gave them the job, remember? That whole “fill the earth and subdue it” brief? And what did they do with their world? At every given opportunity, they pissed on the wonders we gave them and then blamed us for their own screw-ups. I’ve no sympathy at all for them. I mean, yeah, the dolphins were cute and I really liked designing that platypus, but look at it this way: we can recreate those species anywhere we choose, and without having those crazy humans around to muck it up.”

Ix waved her hands at the dead world. “So what do we do about maintenance on the recreated Earth, then? Someone has to be around to correct issues, and if it’s not going to be us there…”

Bela shrugged again. “HQ said that they were working on that; word is that they’ve developed a better human. I’ll be happy if they can just get us a model that won’t have a religious freak out every time we give them an order. I’m all in favor of the free will modules, but they obviously still need a lot of work.”

She passed her hand over the controls. “If we’re done here, I’ll send the command to let the luminary here go supernova. After that, we can head home. I can use the rest.”

Ix turned back to the dead Earth for the last time. She stared out the window for a while before finally nodding to Bela. She then turned to leave the bridge.

“I’m going to lie down for a bit. Let me know if you need anything.” Saying this, she left the bridge.

Bela shook her head. Her friend always did have a soft spot for these corporeal creatures, but she was taking this failure a little too personally. As she keyed the sequence to begin the supernova effect and set course for home, she made a mental note to recommend to her friend that they take a break before embarking on the next experiment. Maybe she’d feel better after a little time off. Ix was right about one thing, though: this lot did seem to have a great deal of potential once; they just never learned to get out of their own way. Sad, really, when one thought about it.

The great ship shuddered once and disappeared, leaving only a dead world in a little backwater part of the universe, soon to be wiped clean.

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