by J. Eckert Lytle
“Only two of you will
be permitted to accompany me from your doomed planet,” I said, looking
into the Emperor’s huge eyes (twice the size of a humans), “one male
and one female.”
“But we have a whole population who need to be
rescued,” bellowed the Emperor. “How can you choose only two? And who
will those two be?”
“Please understand, Your Majesty, it will not
be me making the choice--it’ll be you.”
“Ever since we discovered our sun was about to
supernova we have experienced one futility after another,” the Emperor
reflected anxiously, “so we made a plea to Earth for help. You reply by
sending a single ship with only enough room for three people. Why did
you not bring a larger ship? It is now too late to call for another.”
“This was the fastest ship in the quadrant,
Your Majesty. Besides, there isn’t a spaceship large enough to
transport your planet’s population.”
“We don’t need the whole world to be saved,
only our city--a couple of thousand citizens at most.”
The ground shook and shuddered as the sun
doubled in luminosity and condensed in mass, shifting the planet’s
fragile tectonic plates.
I regained my balance. “Look, I was not sent
here to save your populace, but to save your race.”
The Emperor cocked his head and narrowed his
“With our genetic technologies,” I continued,
“we can scrub the DNA of the offspring from your young couple to help
eliminate recessive genes and prevent birth defects down the line. With
that, your race will be able to endure.”
“But our planet will be incinerated. Where
will this ‘reborn race’ live? Certainly not with you I hope.”
“In time, after we determine they are ready,
we’ll find them a suitable planet on which to live.
The Emperor called forth his only two progeny,
a thick waisted boy of seventeen, striding pompously with his chin held
high, and a thin girl of eighteen walking with her head down--hair
hiding her face. They approached the Emperor and me. “These are the two
I wish you to take,” said the Emperor. “Since you are able to do that
scrubbing process with their genes and produce healthy babies, all
surviving offspring will be my descendants.”
I looked at the pair and asked, “Are you kids
ready to leave?”
“I am prepared for anything you Earthlings
might have in store for me,” said the boy arrogantly.
The young lady kept her head down and nodded
timidly, her silky hair undulating with the nod.
We left the palace and walked to the ship
across manicured grounds, through the sun’s red glow, and past a crowd
being restrained by security from mobbing us. A young man at the front
of the crowd called out to the Emperor’s daughter. Her ears perked up
and she hustled over to him. He enveloped her in a gentle hug. Crying
freely she raised her head to kiss him passionately on his lips.
I walked over to the young couple and tenderly
placed my hand on the young lady’s shoulder. “It’s time we leave,
little one,” I said tenderly, “I’m sorry this has to end.”
“Yeah, sis,” yelled the brother coldly, from
the spaceship ramp, “get your fat ass over here.”
I glared at him and gently guided her, as she
wept, toward her rescue transport.
The ramp closed insulating us from the noise
of the unruly crowd. “Fasten your seatbelts, kids,” I said. “We’re in
for a rough ride.” I looked back to check on them.
“I can take care of myself, inferior,” said
the boy, “and I expect to eat within the hour.” I was already beginning
to hate him. I glanced over to the young lady. She’d raised her head
and I was finally able to look into her huge, beautiful, green eyes.
The look she gave me was the saddest look I’d ever seen. It penetrated
my very soul. Her eyes told the whole story. Tears flowed from them
down her rosy cheeks, but I could see absolute sorrow and complete
devastation. Such a heartache transcended mere grief. I understood from
those woeful eyes that her heart was truly breaking and that she’d die
within a year because of it.
Her chin quivered slightly and she said, “I am
buckled in and ready, sir.”
“What is the hold up?” the boy commanded
soullessly. “Are we leaving or are we not?”
I pursed my lips and exhaled heavily through
my nostrils. “You know, son, if you want something to eat soon, you
better pack something. This ship was built for speed. We have no food
on this flight.”
“Hold the flight!” he dictated. “I need to
bring some food. Let me out of here.”
I opened the hatch and walked out onto the
ramp, but I was passed by the running boy. “Wait for me,” he yelled, as
he ran toward the palace, “I will return.”
Sheepishly, I walked over to the young man the
young princess was in love with standing behind the line of guards.
“Would you like to accompany the young
noblewoman and be with her on Earth?”
Teary-eyed he looked deeply into my eyes and
said with a quiver in his voice, “Sir, I would accompany her into a
nightmare if she asked me to.”
Now, maybe I was sticking my nose in where I
shouldn’t but I didn’t think so. I grabbed the boy by his tunic and
dragged him across the line and up the gangway. When the young lady saw
him she let out a sob and embraced him passionately.
As I closed the ramp and started the engines,
I looked back at her and him embracing each other. She glanced up at me
and her eyes gave me a look of total contentment and appreciation.
When we departed the planet I knew I’d done
right. I also knew the Emperor would be insanely pissed, but I didn’t
care. His lawyers could call my lawyers. Or not.
© 2015 J. Eckert Lytle
Bio: John has
worked in mills, in sales, and his own business’s. He’s toured Europe
by different means (bicycle, hiking, and an old VW). He’s been in a
garage band, been a gold miner, and a scuba diver. He’s been writing
for eleven years and has well over 300 rejection slips.
E-mail: J. Eckert Lytle
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