Author : E.S. Wynn

One ferrous meteor. That’s all it took to end it all.

That little world– they put up a hell of a fight, far more than any of us expected. When we arrived in-system, they were too busy organizing tribes in massive attempts to wipe each other out to notice us. Hell, I think we were in orbit before anyone down there planetside even tried to talk to us. Worlds with life that primitive– they’re everywhere in this galaxy. That world’s life was nothing special. We all thought it was going to be really easy to wipe them out and clear the land for colonization, but they turned out to be far more resourceful than any of us ever imagined.

We followed standard procedure for the first wave in. Big, scary colony ships perched over every major city on their little world. Posturing, just lots of posturing. Surrender yourself or die, that kind of stuff. Some of the tribes gave in immediately, but the biggest ones stuck it out, called our bluff.

Now, it isn’t often that a world that primitive stands up to us like that. Usually they see the futility of their situation and then they lay down so we can kill them without losing any of our colony ships or equipment. Not that world– that world was ruled by the dangerously insane. Even before we threatened to subjugate its people in a bloody and destructive conquest, the disparate tribes were already beginning to band together, were already working on joint projects, rushing prototype weapons into large-scale production. Usually when we come in, we fire the first shot. Not this time. This time, there was no warning shot. This time, they came at our colony ships with swarms of sleek, glossy interceptors, all remotely piloted. Didn’t even leave a scratch on our colony ships, but their attempts to drive us off were amusing to watch.

I think that’s why our President decided to throw the meteor at them. We had the power to wipe them out with minimal effort. Hell, we could have killed them slowly, sterilized them all with a flash of gamma radiation and waited for them to die off. We’re immortal. We could have waited a hundred years, two hundred, whatever it took. I’ve had VR game sessions that lasted longer than that.

No, the rock was meant to be flashy. It was meant to get their attention. It did, too. One impact, one big city, and they all put up their hands in surrender. Took about a month to skin their brains, digitize the entire planetary population and stash their collective data in the cultural archives for the academics to pick over and play with.

And that was it. That was how the whole thing ended. We moved on after that, picked another target and set a course for it. That planet– didn’t matter how fierce of a show the primitives made when we came in. In the end, it was just another hunk of rock, another world in the bucket for the good ol’ United States of Earth.

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