Author: David C. Nutt

The chief of security removed the object archaically nailed to the briefing room door. There were gasps. It was paper. Forbidden by their protocols on the station. With a reverence and awe once held for holy relics, the chief delicately unscrolled the document and began to read out loud.

“Hear me now, defenders of the faith! I am a backslider, a heretic. I stand guilty of violating the doctrine of our people. For this I should be punished and consigned to the flames. For this, you would then have my bones disinterred and ground to powder and scattered to the wind.
Too late! Wail and gnash your teeth as you track our descent, slings and arrows disabled. I, my kith and kin have slipped the bonds of this station and descended to the planet of our people’s birth.
Look upon us with despair and know that for us we will never see you again for even if you leave your orbit to hunt us down, you violate your most sacred covenant: “to undue all trace of our hand, on the orb that gave us birth.”
Here, we will fill our lungs with air. Here, we will drink the waters. Here we will cut down the sacred trees and make our profane dwellings, here we will live our lives bringing forth our children, the issue of our compounding sin. Here, we will begin to consume the planet once again.
Our muscles will get stronger, our movements will get easier, our limbs thicker. In due time we will be ourselves again. Our children may not run in our green fields, but they will walk, and our children’s children will run.
We will drink the waters, we will harvest the land, we will herd and hunt. We will take, and we will give back.
For that is the lesson, O my once beloved! To give back- to give back and remain balanced. And so we shall. So we give ourselves back, and we will stay and we will roam.
You can have the stars; we will keep the earth.”

There was silence around the table. The chief looked to the captain. “Orders Ma’am?”
The captain just sighed. There was a long silence.
Blessedly, the first officer broke the silence “He always was a bit of a drama queen.” There were some chuckles.
The executive officer spoke next, her voice quivering slightly. “Ma’am, what are we to do?”

The captain smiled “Obviously we can’t fire on them. Even if we could get the systems on-line in time that would be unusually cruel and bad for the planet. Given the shield generators missing from inventory, a search would yield nothing.”
The chief frowned “Then our response?”
The captain smiled. “Let me guess, he has 95 reasons along with his bombastic screed?”
The chief looked surprised. “Exactly 95. How did you know?”
The Captain tilted back her head and laughed. “Hear me now, O defenders of the faith! It is time to seize the day and by gentle opposition defend our mother from these heretics!”
The executive officer looked puzzled “Ma’am?”
The Captain stood and the table scrambled to its feet “We can’t keep the planet pure from human contact now by any sane definition. We can only mitigate the situation. Prepare the station for re-entry and landing. It’s time to go home.”