Author : Beck Dacus

The ship had suddenly appeared in front of our Mars transport, instantly matching our speed. Then they requested to come aboard, and we felt like we had no choice but to accept. One of them, a strange being that didn’t seem to be in any one place, spoke to me in a voice that I can only describe as the perfect human voice.

“We know you are aware of cross-planetary contamination,” it said flawlessly. We know this, in part, because you have taken measures against it when to travel between worlds. This is commendable. We are glad you showed such competence. But despite this, we are afraid you must not continue.”

It took my crew and I a few seconds to process what was even happen. Then it took another few moments to grasp that they were telling us we could no longer land on any planets. Naturally, we were irked.

“It’s a fundamental part of who we are!” Inra exclaimed.

“You can’t just tell a human being not to explore,” Ian added.

“It is not a question of whether you enjoy the confinement,” the alien responded. “This is not your decision to make. It is in the best interest of all life. We both know you are only protesting because you do not fully understand the risks. We will show you.”

It was in that instant that our ship left the Solar System and arrived in orbit around a planet with two starkly contrasted hemispheres: one red, one yellow. The sight was irresistable.

“That’s amazing,” Talia said, gawking.

“Unbelievable,” I chimed in.

“This sight may register as pleasing to you, but it is the manifestation of an ecological war between the native biosphere of the planet Cudolla and one that was unintentionally planted here by an extinct race much like yourself.”

“Which color is the natives?” Ian asked.

“Irrelevant,” the alien said in a perfect annoyed voice. “The point is that this will be the result of any further exploration of your surrounding space. We will give you a chance to cooperate voluntarily, but forceful methods will be used if necessary.”

“Then why are you allowed to enter our ship?” I jabbed. “Aren’t you contaminating us?”

“I am only here in a few ways,” it retorted. “The way allowing contamination is not included.” In another flash, we were transported back on our route to Mars.

“We have refueled this vessel. Turn around and spread the message, or we will make you.” And with that, the alien and its ship disappeared into empty space. Silence on board the ship.

“Set a course for home,” I said dejectedly.

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