Author : Suzanne Borchers

The black button seemed to sneer from its instrument panel at the two technicians facing each other with their hands resting on either side of it. They were the only two humans left on the warship. Neither had tasted battle with the aliens. They had only kept the technology intact for their now dead soldiers on the planet below.

Anger distorted their faces. On the view screen, the smoking planet was the background for a wounded, miserable alien. The translator blinked on.

“We surrender whatever is left of our world. Let us rescue our people from the rubble. Show us mercy.”

“We will consider it.” Simon switched off the screen. He turned to his companion. “All our warriors are dead so we are left with the job of deciding the future. Perhaps it’s time to examine why we are here fighting these beings. Carl von Clausewitz said, ‘War is the continuation of politics by other means.’”

“I am so sick of your endless dead people quotations. We do have a huge decision to make and all you can contribute are useless platitudes.” Georgia sighed. “They killed us too. They showed us no mercy.”

“We need to change our thinking about aliens and war. ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’– Albert Einstein.” Simon paused to push Georgia’s hand a millimeter farther from the button. “The war is over. We won. You and I have the chance to change the future toward a peaceful existence with our other neighbors.”

“I look down there and all I see are the bodies of our people.” Georgia nudged Simon’s hand away from hers.

“Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘An eye for an eye only ends up making the world blind.’ We don’t have to destroy our enemies. We can use this moment to start a path toward peace.”

“Are you seriously going to consider showing mercy to those deceitful creatures?” Georgia’s face became stone.

“We can’t always be at war!” Simon pleaded. “’Nothing can exist forever.’– Stephen Hawking.”

“Well, maybe…maybe you’re right,” Georgia said. “But, how can you forgive them?”

Simon relaxed into his chair. “Mahatma Gandhi also said, ‘The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.’”

Georgia smiled. “Let me think about it.”

‘”What we think, we become.’ — Buddha.”

Georgia grinned. “I’ve got my own quotation. ‘When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough.’– Donald Trump.”

Georgia pushed the button.