Here's another story born out of a Creative Writing contest. The story was supposed to include the lines "Its time to leave. I have made my decision and I'll stick by it."
Chief Vhonoff sat down on what might be called a chair and began to key in his report. What he wrote would decide the fate of a civilization, a civilization that he had discovered, but his mind was on other things. He was thinking of home.
His mission was over. It was time to leave.
Soon, he would be able to begin the long journey back home to his wife and kids. And then, he would take a long rich vacation to compensate for six years of wretched living.
It would be good to see the kids again. He had been seeing their pictures and he had regularly sent them his. But that was hardly the same as actually being with them.
Vhonoff was suddenly nervous. How would the kids react to him? A father, who has been away six years, is almost a stranger. 'Away from sight, forgotten in mind' they said. How else could he explain the glaring lack of warmth in the letters they wrote him and the almost mechanical nature of the conversation they had every 9 days. And, he thought sadly, they are almost grown now. They will no longer come to me to fix their toys.
The nervousness changed to bitterness. Six years in the line of duty. Six years in a foreign space, living aboard a cramped ship, working by day and by night, living on bland, "healthy food"...For what? Of course, they paid him well. And back home, there would be a hero's welcome awaiting him. But what could compensate for his share of his children's childhood that he had forsaken? And his wife? He knew she had suffered. That he had made her suffer.
Vhonoff took a deep breath. Might as well get the job done and over with. And think about home when he got there?
He keyed in a rapid paragraph. Then another, and then a third. He stopped to read what he had written. Not good enough. He deleted the whole thing and started afresh. No. his heart was not in it, he realized. Maybe if he took a break...He walked out of his cabin, went to his secretary's desk and gave him some instructions.
As he entered the observatory some peace returned to his mind. This was the best part of the job - watching the aliens he himself had discovered, seeing the little guys go about their daily tasks, travelling in their ridiculous little machines, quite unaware of the powereful telesccopes watching them from far away. He was almost proud of them. He watched them still with pleasure as he had done six years ago, but now with a touch of fatherly affection.
They had surprised him at first. They were so familiar. Physically, they were different. They had an extra eye and an ear less. The arms were disproportionately larger, the legs smaller. The skin was terribly pale. They were also so tiny. But civilizationally, they were exactly like the people back home. They tamed other creatures and lived in artificially built homes and moved about in machines. There also seemed to be different communities which fought each other with war weapons. Watching their activities was like watching one endless animation movie.
Vhonoff focused his telescope on a couple. They were obviously quarreling in what looked like some sort of a playground for kids. Several other aliens watching the couple were lookin on, amused. The couple's child, sitting between them was happily chewing on some eatable, quite unconcerned with his parent's indiscretion. "Too bad we haven't decoded their language fully yet." thought Vhonoff, "We could have had some fun. But then, we'll never get around to doing that, if the politicians back home have their way."
The principal task of his mission, of course, was to see if the alien planet and its people could be subjugated. And by all his experiments he had found out that - they could. The aliens were quite warlike but they could harldy stand up to a modern army, poor things. The atmosphere of the planet was somewhat hostile. More oxygen that nitrogen, but that was only a minor issue. It was only a matter of time before these little creatures were exterminated and the planet resettled.
And his report would start that process...
The kid in the telescope had started crying. It had accidentally droppped whatever it had been eating. Strangely, the child's moaning had quieted the parents. Now they were united in their efforts to soothe it. Something stirred in Vhonoff's memory. Something similar had happened to him. So long ago. His daughter had feigned hurt to put an end to a quarrel between him and his wife.
They are so like us, Vhonoff thought, and we want to conquer them. Just because we are stronger.
No. Not if he could help it. It wouldnt be easy, but it was possible. After all, he was Chief. Some doctoring of experiments...ordering of fresh experiments...Besides, his crew adored him. Yes it was possible. And he would do it. It would involve some more delay in going home, but he would do it.
"Its time to leave this planet for good," he thought "Its time to leave. I have made my decision and I'll stick by it. I will save planet Earth."