My latest short story. Enjoy.
Their arrival here had not been planned. It was never meant to happen. They had simply been standing on a planetary rock that was destined for something much bigger than any of Them could anticipate.
They needed to stop in an emergency. It was not an uncommon occurrence; They had after all only discovered the ability to wander the vast cosmos some decades ago. They had bound their vessel to a plain rock where it could simply orbit around the planet whilst one of their mechanic inventions repaired the damage. That moment wasn’t meant to be life-changing for Them.
But the universe, as They learnt on that day, has a way of driving on its own course.
The azure planet was close, but not dangerously so. It might have seemed beautiful to any other species, but to Them it was simply rubbish. Pure, uninhabitable rubbish. They paid no attention to it. Nor to that entire solar system for that matter.
None of Them had felt the fist-sized meteor bump into their perch. Out there in the cosmos, where planets and stars reached vast sizes, size did indeed matter. But Their underestimation – a rookie mistake as They would later learn – had come at a very hefty price. The meteor embedded itself on the giant rock’s side, leaving no more than a slight tremor. But the momentum it carried initiated a chain reaction; one to a devastating effect. Slowly the rock altered its course, accelerating slightly. It moved, one lightyear at a time, towards its azure neighbor.
The rock They were tied on spun faster as it rocketed towards the blue planet. It had only taken a few minutes for both planets to be locked in the other’s magnetic field. The blue planet, a gargantuan beast of equal size to their perch, had pulled the planet closer to it. They scurried into their ship for safety, knowing very well that those few seconds would be their last. It was too late for takeoff: Their ship still required repairs and the magnetic forces in play were too strong.
Seconds later the two planets collided. After this event the blue planet would never again be the same, with its axis tilted and its crust broken into a dozen pieces. Little did the hitch-hikers know that They were in the presence of a rare event. The planets did not explode into a million fragments and shudder the solar system at its core. They merged.
But it wasn’t over yet, They realized, as They emerged from their wrecked vessel. Most of their population died, but a few had lived to see another day. Now another dilemma overcame them. How would They leave? They were stranded here, with dwindling supplies, a ship in ruins and a population in dregs.
It took several days, weeks, months, years, until They stumbled across the solution to all Their problems. They realized that this planet, this virgin marvel whose birth They had witnessed, held one resource that They, in all their journeying had never encountered: water. This magical clear liquid, with its very basic chemistry, reacted differently to different materials onboard their ship. One experiment led to the next, and They soon mastered the use of this resource. Some even learnt how to apply it to Their own bodies and found it nourishing against the tempestuous climate and ever shifting ground. They knew there and then that this element was the foundation of life. Life, pure and unencumbered, just waiting for the correct mixture in order to blossom into something alien.
And that’s when They decided, that this planet, which had eradicated most of Their species in one fell swoop, would be the one to supply more of Their brethren. They would create Their next generation on this very planet. Meanwhile, They would repair the ship, in preparation to continue towards Their original destination.
So They tampered with the environment and the ecosystem. Just enough to nudge life into a start. Once They had established a flourishing living ecosystem, They departed, eager to return several millennia later in order to reap the fruits They had sown.
But the universe had thwarted Their plans once more. Life on the blue planet had become savage and monstrous. Large reptiles roamed the land; many more still refused to leave the sea from whence they were born from. This cornucopia of bestiality and blood had not been what They had envisioned. The creators were powerful and sophisticated; these beasts could not evolve any further. In time, left unattended, they would regress into some unimpressive, vile creature.
And They were furious. Their own DNA would have never been compatible with such creatures. They could never breed with such fiends. It was as if They were meant to be exterminated; maybe it was the price that the universe demanded in exchange for their enlightenment all those decades ago. But Their leaders, the most powerful and fearful of them, would not have it. They will never accept extinction, not when They had all this power. A new species, They decided, would be created, even if They had to start over.
And so They manipulated the heavens once more and wrought destruction upon the planet, eradicating nearly all life. It was a fresh start. This time They would control nature, not allow it to take its course.
They were overjoyed with this new creature They had orchestrated. They had engineered it to near perfection, placing random parts of their DNA code in it. Some of it would push this new species to flourish and branch out wildly. But the more ambitious planted their DNA strands to be activated only once the correct species emerged. After all, natural law had to be followed and only the fittest deserved to be genetically linked to their creators. Later on, the future inhabitants of this planet would call it ‘mammal’.
Satisfied with Their results, They set this new species free from Their clutches into the hands of evolution. This was an exciting new prospect for Them; only a few mere centuries ago They had discovered the laws of the universe. They had manipulated space and time and found other planets. Some They had inhabited. Some They had ravaged, leaving an empty husk in Their wake. Their species had rewritten parts of the universe, perfecting and perverting according to Their whim. But They had failed at being Gods. They could not create life, merely tamper with it. Until that crash. It took the near-eradication of Their species to create new life. An impressive feat, having a dozen survivors create not one, but two separate eco-populations. Too bad the first had failed. But necessity had forced Their hand and They had finally gotten their way.
This new species will flourish; of that They were certain. They would leave it to its own devices and return later. They had Their own worlds to get to; places to rebuild, planets to conquer. But They would watch over this planet from afar: it was rare for Their species to get excited about something and this blue planet had done just that. They would watch, but not interfere. They would hear but not speak. They would influence but not control. Not until the correct branch emerged. They had after all, all the time in the world. In all of the worlds, in fact.