Those geese are pretty picky about where to flock on the ground. Oh wait… that doesn’t sound right….
Looking like a cluster of thirty, the silver spacecraft “Apocrypha” fell out of hyperspace.
Star specs replaced starlines. Old Sol outshone them all.
“God I hate hyperspace,” Lalobin said from her seat, fronds lifting with relief.
“God’s not listening,” Ollojegrah replied, his eyes taking in Dead Earth. With a lean forepaw, he gestured to the humans. “Or theirs isn’t.”
The dark one, an artist named Pamela, wasted no time sketching the rock with charcoal. The golden one, a New Earth government agronomist named Fredrick, drummed fingers to cheekbone. The pale one, a businessman named Tyler with flesh-pale hair, looked sour.
Ollojegrah saw unworthiness. And his job of flying and firing.
“I only spoke to myself,” Lalobin continued.
“The Electorate hired you to observe yourself?” Ollojegrah asked, grinning sly.
“Perhaps I was trying to wake the human God,” Lalobin replied.
“And?” Ollojegrah asked.
“He hates hyperspace too. And being mistaken for a man.”
Sol passed behind the dead planet, as if hiding. Ollojegrah thought about human gender and men hiding behind women. Then he thought it hilarious.
“Launch it!” Tyler cried, twitching up to Ollojegrah.
“Back to your seat!” Ollojegrah clacked.
Tyler retreated, blanching paler. Laughing in silence, Pamela flipped to a new page, drawing the retreat from memory. Fredrick noticed nothing save invisible vines in the air, stroking and snipping.
“Ungrateful parasites,” Ollojegrah muttered. “When she’s green and ready I’ll launch.”
“Two things,” Lalobin said. “First, many races were parasites before they became symbiotes. Like yours.”
“Observers are ‘still’ parasites…” Ollojegrah thought.
“And second, ….”
“Exercise imagination. We have.”
Ollojegrah pawed readouts. All thirty biospheres read green, though red would fit the fruit better.
“May I check again?” Fredrick asked.
Ollojegrah opened the back door, nodding. Bowing, Fredrick left in silence.
“Launch it!” Tyler cried, forgetful. “The silver can’t –”
Ollojegrah silenced the man with a glare.
“Shame gold isn’t the device’s byproduct,” Pamela said.
“Silver’s better anyway,” Tyler replied. “Whiter.”
“And there it is. The very seed of the need for the device.”
Ollojegrah turned to Lalobin.
“Can you silence them?”
“I’m just an observer. Take or leave.”
The door behind opened again. Fredrick reentered, sitting. Pamela turned.
“How are they?”
“Still more vital. They wish to be wine, knowing Sol is both needed and near.”
Pamela stopped drawing, producing a bottle of red and five glasses, surprising Ollojegrah. Tyler gaped.
“Vintage Old Earth,” Pamela said. “I have friends you don’t.”
A light turned green for Ollojegrah.
“Ready to launch. Genesis device launching. Fire!”
In silence, a sliver contrail arched into space, striking the World and sending brilliant fire racing around the globe. At the extinguishing, Edenic green and blue sparkled.
“Now,” Lalobin said. “You earned your second shot. Do better with it. I witnessed delivery. Return the message home that you will have no third.”
She stood, blooming with bright colors. Ollojegrah knew to look away, but not the humans. Pamela, recovering first, drew frantic strokes. When done, she poured into five glasses.
“Wine?” she asked.
Nodding, Ollojegrah joined them, his duties done until the end of seeding. Even Lalobin traversed to them, and indefinable tension evaporated as they drank.
“To the resurrection of the dead Earth!” Tyler cried, raising his glass. “And to death’s silver lining!”
Ollojegrah’s voice clacked with derision. Everyone turned.
“You’ll just kill her again.”
Lalobin sighed, but more with sympathy. Or empathy. Everyone turned. Beauty shone from her ever leaf, mirth glowing in her eyes.
“Jesus you’re cynical,” she said, touching his shoulder.