by Tim Britto
Wes Williams let the crowd's cheers wash over him as he stood on the darkened stage. They had begun cheering as soon as he and his band had walked out. Now they were ready to explode. Wes' guitar hummed beneath his fingers, the drummer was poised with his sticks hanging in the air, the bass guitar player watched with calm, controlled eyes.
Wes stepped to the microphone, the crowd quieted in anticipation. He closed his eyes, leaned back his head, and let loose that first smooth note. The crowds cheering doubled in volume and passion and then doubled again. Wes held the note as he raised his arm, pick at the ready. When he brought it down his band was right there with him. The lights burst on and the pyrotechnics shot into the night. The music and the crowd filled Wes better than any drug, better than sex, better than life itself; he sang:
"We can make it girl,
Make it all night long,
Make it out of this world,
But first I gotta sing
Gotta hum a few bars
Then I'll take you, love,
Take you straight to the stars."
That concert was one of Wes' best. He was the best selling and best reviewed musician on earth. There was nothing he couldn't do. He owned four homes, eight cars, had three personal assistants, a private chef, chauffeur, masseuse, and stylist. He ate at the White House twice a year, played golf with Masters' Champions, and went to the batting cages with Derek Jeter. At one point towards the end of that concert, Wes was leaning back and he saw a flash in the sky. He assumed it was a shooting star and smiled at the thought that the very heavens celebrated his music.
But that would mark the last time Wes ever played his guitar or sang for an audience. There was news waiting for him backstage, the type of news no one should ever have to hear. And that shooting star was no star. It wasn't a comet, meteor, or any other natural phenomenon. Neither was it man-made.
Two months later Wes Williams found himself with his head tilted back as he studied the stars once again. They looked the same, they always did to Wes. They were, if anything, duller and less mysterious on this night. Simply balls of gas floating so far away it wasn't worth thinking about. Or maybe that was just Wes. Maybe he was the one who had changed and the stars had remained the same.
Wes looked down at the slow moving waters of the Hudson River. The noise from the traffic behind him on the George Washington Bridge had blended into a steady drone Wes had long since learned to tune out. All he could hear was doctor's explanations, words shouted in anger, slamming doors, and his own hysterical sobs.
His wife had produced all three of Wes' albums. They always joked that they made beautiful music together, so it was an easy decision to call their first and only child just that: Music.
That night of the 'shooting star' concert had been the last of Music's nine months. Wes could still hear the doctor's emotionless voice speaking of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and assuring Wes that there was nothing he could have done. His wife, Rebecca, had disagreed vehemently. Their shouting matches had evolved to throwing random household objects at each other and would most likely have turned physical if Wes hadn't left.
Wes had been encouraged to turn what he was feeling into music. His friends had talked about Eric Clapton and his tragedy, but Wes could not imagine looking at his guitar, let alone picking it up. And he felt as though he would never sing again.
Without song, without Music, Wes' life suddenly became unbearable. He looked down at the water once again and then prepared to jump. But just as he was about to throw himself off the bridge he heard a deafening boom and saw something moving out of the corner of his eye. When he looked up he wasn't sure if what he was seeing was real. A giant tube with a sphere at each end was moving over Manhattan. It was easily the size of an aircraft carrier and definitely not of this world. Wes watched as it came to a stop somewhere over Central Park. Then he, not to mention the rest of the world, forgot what they had been doing and waited.
The outer office was cold and sterile but when the secret service agent opened the inner door for Wes there were rare paintings, historic photographs, and the beginnings of the U.S. Constitution painted onto the wall. The President had been moved to a secure location the same night of the alien arrival almost a month earlier.
Wes had met President Clark several times already at various charity and campaign fund-raising events. The former rock star was shocked by how much the other man had aged in the six months since he had last seen him in person. Black circles were prominent beneath his eyes and his skin had a grey, unhealthy pallor. The alien invasion had certainly not been beneficial to the President's peace of mind.
"Wes, good to see you again." The President spoke with a genuine, though strained, smile.
"Thank you, Mr. President, it's good to see you too."
They stepped into a small conference room where a handful of high ranking military officials, the secretaries of defense and state, and other advisors were waiting. After introductions were made, the President, as was his way, got right to the point.
"The whole world saw and heard the aliens -- I'm sorry, the Valash is what they call themselves -- broadcast their message. We're still looking into how they managed to tap into the entire planet's T.V., radio, satellite, and phone signals but it's rather obvious that their technology far surpasses what our greatest minds have yet to dream up."
"What do they want?" Wes prompted the President when he paused.
"You heard what I heard: they have no art of their own, so they want ours. Painting, poetry, sculpture, fiction, and especially music. I'm not sure how a race can evolve without these things, but they've done it. It appears that they were sent here to destroy us but now they're willing to give us a second chance because of our arts."
The President shook his head and then looked to the Secretary of Defense and nodded. The Secretary leaned forward as he spoke.
"Mr. Williams, I've been authorized to share classified information with you. I'm sure most people have already guessed the facts I'm about to share but we cannot admit these things and cause a panic. We ask that you practice some discretion when you leave this room."
"Good." The Secretary sighed. "The bottom line is we have absolutely zero chance of defeating the Valash in a military confrontation. Even if they let us fire all of our weapons at them, something they could easily prevent since they already have tapped into our defense system, we would cause very little damage. They have the capability of destroying humanity and we can do nothing to hurt them."
Wes nodded his head, surprised at the Secretary's bluntness rather than at his words. He felt panic building up within him none the less and knew that the general public could not be told this in such a direct manner. The rest of the room waited for Wes to speak.
"Well, I appreciate your honesty, but I'm still not sure what I'm doing here. Your message was rather vague."
The President nodded his head and spoke.
"Yes it was... Sorry to keep you in the dark Wes, but you never know who's listening." He stood and began pacing around the room. "We've had some contact with the Valash. Mostly they speak of the different artists they like. Of all American artists, you are their third favorite of all time and their favorite among those living."
"OK, who are the first two?" Wes couldn't help but ask.
"Elvis and Billie Holiday."
"OK, not bad company. So ... what does all of this mean?"
"We want you to be our ambassador to the aliens, Wes. We want you to represent the U.S. in the most important even in world history."
Wes stared at the President, forgetting for a moment that there was anyone else in the room.
"Are you serious?" he whispered, entirely expecting the President to break out in laughter and let him know he was just yanking his chain.
"Of course I am, Wes."
"But ... I don't have any diplomatic experience. I wouldn't know what to say or how to act. I'm a musician, or at least I was, but--"
The President raised a hand to cut Wes off.
"I know all of that, Wes, we know all of that. We could give you a crash course in diplomacy, but I think you'll be better off without it. We're not dealing with humans. We're dealing with an alien race whose evolution and social customs are completely different from what the people of this planet are used to. A race that holds our continued existence in their very hands. We're going to have to play by their rules. Not having to unlearn a lifetime of diplomatic lessons will probably be an advantage."
"I don't know if I can do this."
"You won't be alone Wes. You'll have assistants and advisors and we'll be in constant contact. I mentioned this idea to the Valash and they seemed to love it. I really think it would give us an advantage if one of their favorite musicians was our ambassador."
Wes said nothing, still in shock at being asked to take the most important position for a U.S. citizen in history. The President kept speaking.
"The world is already changing Wes. Small countries have banded together, old enemies are putting differences behind them, new friendships are being made. The aliens set out from their world to destroy us, but they may actually save us from ourselves. You could be a part of that Wes."
Not knowing how to refuse, Wes smiled and nodded his head. "I'm your man, Mr. President."
The Valash entered the room at the same time as Wes, though from a different door. By now Wes was used to their appearance and to most of their ways, but it had taken some time. The Valash's torso appeared to come out of a pool of flesh which in turn divided and formed two pairs of legs, one forward and one back. Their torso had very little definition and a slightly bluish tint. They had no necks to speak of, their heads were triangular with the ears at the peak, an eye on each side, and a third in the front, no visible nose, and a large mouth covered with what appeared to be plastic wrap but was actually nearly impossible to cut or tear. Their arms were tentacle-like and their three fingered hands could be retracted.
Wes was listening to one of their race, who called himself Sutu Lamat, praise Wes' music.
"Your album -- is that the correct word? Yes, I think it is -- your album 'All Points Wes' is beautiful, Wes Williams."
The Valash turned English into a muffled, fast paced struggle between hissing and screeching. Wes was simply grateful they had learned human languages so fast. The closest he could come to describing their native language was whale song mixed with dry leaves being stepped on.
Sutu Lamat continued. "It was one of the first we heard while approaching your planet to destroy it."
The aliens showed no embarrassment or guilt over their original mission. They treated it as an exterminator would their job.
Wes nodded when he realized Sutu Lamat was waiting for a reply.
"Thank you, Sutu Lamat," Wes said. The Valash always used full names, even among close friends. "I always hoped my work would have universal appeal. Although I never thought that sentiment would literally come true."
The Valash waved his arms horizontally over each other in his species version of a chuckle. "The human species puzzles my race. How can one planet be home to those who have created the Mona Lisa, the Ode to Joy, The Divine Comedy but also the Holocaust, slavery, and countless ethnic wars? My planet is ruled by logic and reasoning. If your state has a better system of government, why shouldn't it rule my state? If you would make a better life partner to this female, why shouldn't you be joined? We did not begin to create weapons until we met species from other planets. But now they too have adapted to our ways. We now use weapons only when confronting new races."
Wes nodded his head. "We're as much an enigma to ourselves as to anyone. I suppose it's that same passion that drives a man to kill that drives him to create art."
"Yes, and I sometimes wonder if it is too high a price." The Valash let loose a very human sounding sigh, "but then I listen to Beethoven and I am twice as confused. It is very frustrating."
"I agree. But you did not ask me here to discuss humanity's illogical nature, did you Sutu Lamat?"
"No, though it is a topic I can spend some time discussing. I called you here to discuss the future of humanity."
"I thought it would be important, but ... " Wes shook his head, feeling overwhelmed by his position for the tenth or twelfth time that day.
Sutu Lamat continued. "My people have found some merit in the arts humans have created. It is a talent we can never hope to duplicate, we are simply not made that way and our attempts have been pitiful at best. But your danger to the rest of the universe cannot be forgotten. You are doing your best to destroy yourselves and your planet; what will happen when you discover true space travel? We cannot allow you to send the other races of this universe into a constant state of war. It is the logical conclusion to sacrifice a few to save many. We will destroy you now while we can to save the majority of beings in this existence."
"But you may spare us?"
"We may. We have decided to give you one Earth year to create all the art you can in order to try to -- how do you humans say it? -- tip the scales in your favor."
"All the art we can? Sutu Lamat, it does not work like that. You cannot rush art, it can take years to create a painting, song, or story. To rush it would be to diminish its beauty."
"And yet it must be done, Wes Williams."
Wes leaned back in his seat. "One year?" He said it as a whisper, not having fully absorbed the fact that his species could be exterminated in such a seemingly short amount of time.
"Yes, Wes Williams, in one Earth year we will let you know our decision."
Wes still could not believe his eyes or ears. The Valash standing before him and the other ambassadors pointed at the map and repeated his earlier statement.
"The state you humans refer to as North Korea is no more." The Valash said this several times in every language represented in the room. It took that much time for Wes' reeling mind to even begin to right itself.
"This is your planet's one and only warning. The next time we will not be so lenient," the Valash continued.
"This is lenient?" The British ambassador asked quietly.
"There were many among my leaders who wished to destroy your planet immediately. If we hadn't been able to prove absolutely that it was this state, North Korea, and this state alone who attacked our ship the punishment would have been much more severe."
"But they did your ship no harm," the Canadian ambassador argued.
"Yes, and you are unable to do us harm, any of you. But we punished the intent. You are a savage, violent race and that's what must change if you wish to have any hope of avoiding extinction."
As the ambassadors left the briefing room to report to their presidents, prime ministers, and so on; Wes found himself next to the ambassador from Brazil.
"Well, I suppose we can forget about any last second heroics from your military like in your movies, huh, Mr. Williams?"
We smirked. "Looks that way. We'll have to rely on something else now, our ability to work together."
The Brazilian ambassador sighed. "Humanity is in trouble."
Wes wished he was kidding.
"The Eastern European Musical Bloc has submitted another twelve songs, four paintings, two sculptures, four novels, eleven poems, and one short story collection this week. Their output has really increased since they signed their pact, Mr. President."
"Yes, but what of their quality?"
"Only the Valash can answer that."
President Clark nodded his head. "What of China?"
"They continue to refuse to sign any pacts or treaties with any other country. They have set up giant camps for their artists where, it is rumored, the artists are fed stimulants and sometimes hallucinogens to keep them working until they drop. The rest of Southeast Asia is working together but they spend so much time bickering over who's in charge they turn out very little."
"I guess the Valash were right," Wes mumbled. No one heard him.
The Secretary of State continued. "The Carribean League and The Eastern African Union continue working at a steady rate. Ireland has joined the United Kingdom, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Denmark, and Finland in their efforts. There has been talk of a Latin Union as well as an Anglo Saxon Alliance in the hopes that similar cultures can help each other. Israel is still a part of the Treaty of the West but their Muslim neighbors are urging them to work with those nations near them. The Israelis are skeptical. Australia has accepted our invitation to the Treaty of the West."
The Secretary of State looked over his notes, took a deep breath, and sat back down.
"Well, you've had a busy morning," the President said to polite laughter. "Wes, how have you progressed with that special project of ours?"
Wes cleared his throat. "I've spoken to the Valash's top ten favorite living musical artists as Sutu Lamat has explained them to me. Mine and the President's hope is that they will work together to create music to overwhelm the Valash and assure our survival. But everyone is wary of making the first move. They all want to know who will get the credit. Three of the Valash's favorites, Kenny G -- apparently they find saxophones particularly appealing -- Greenday, and Paul McCartney, have agreed to some sort of collaboration. Shakira, M.I.A., and U2 have not responded. Two are from China and I have been refused access and two are missing and are feared to have been kidnapped by a nation unable to catch the Valash's attention."
"I suppose their hope is to use these musicians to gain favor with the Valash."
"Yes, Mr. President."
"I can't say I blame them, but--"
"I'm sorry, Mr. President, but yes, yes we can blame them. The whole reason why the Valash feel they must exterminate our species is because we are a violent and crude race. Our very existence is at stake here and there are nations, including this nation of ours, more concerned with gaining favor with the Valash in the hopes that they will leave us technology should they leave us alive, rather than being concerned with surviving. We must do away with leagues, unions, and treaties that include some but exclude others. We must be one planet, united and working together if we are to have a chance at survival."
Everyone was silent after Wes stopped speaking. Finally the President stood up.
"You are asking us to change human nature, to change what has made us great and strong, Wes."
"We either change, Mr. President, or we die knowing that our supposed source of strength and greatness was also the source of our demise."
Wes was about to enter the President's office when he heard a heated debate raging and stopped to listen.
"If we cannot beat them, Mr. President, we must try to join them. It's possible they will not destroy all of humanity. We could be among those who survive."
"We could also be the reason for humanity's destruction," President Clark countered. "That is quite a gamble."
"Our other option is to sit back and allow ourselves to be grouped with those who are certain to destroy our race."
Wes could contain himself no longer. He burst into the room and began speaking immediately.
"No, those aren't our only options, Mr. President."
Both the President and his companion, the Secretary of Defense, stared at Wes in shock at his sudden entrance.
"We could be a leader, as we always claim to be and as we've been in the past. And we could show the world what it means to be one species united for a common goal: survival."
"This was a private meeting, Ambassador--" the Secretary of Defense began, but President Clark raised his hand to cut off the other man's words.
"No, Don, let him speak. This is too important to allow any voice to be silenced. How do we lead the world, Wes?"
"We share the ideas our artists come up with that are popular with the Valash. We allow, we encourage, our artists to work with foreign artists. I argued against forcing our artists to stay within U.S. borders from the beginning and I still believe it's wrong. Our idea to gather the Valash's favorite artists is still a good one, but we must take the first step."
The Secretary of Defense spoke up then. "And if another country gets the credit for the work this joint operation produces and we are left out of the Valash's good graces, what then, Ambassador?"
Wes sighed and had to control himself so that he wouldn't punch the secretary.
"We're not dealing with humans, get that through your skull!" He nearly shouted. "We are dealing with a race completely different from our own. A race that has never fought a war against its own kind, or cheated a neighbor, or even deceived an enemy. They will not be impressed if we step on the rest of humanity in order to be noticed or if we point out the shortcomings of others to hide our own. South Korea was an anomaly, they had to be told several times that humans are broken up into different states and do not act as one people. They will not forgive us a second time."
No one spoke after this outburst. Wes got himself under control and then looked at the President who was in turn scrutinizing Wes. Finally, the President spoke.
"He's right, Don. The Valash never would have set out to destroy us if we hadn't been doing our best to kill each other. We have nothing to bribe them with, nothing to threaten them with, and only our art to entice them with. We play this straight up. We lead."
"This painting is quite remarkable, Wes Williams," Sutu Lamat stated as the two stood before a large abstract painting hanging in the Valash's shuttle. The invader's taste in painting tended towards landscapes and abstracts.
"Yes, it is quite beautiful, Sutu Lamat. I understand it is the work of several artists," Wes responded.
"Indeed, though the two artists live on the same island and share a similar culture there is a great deal of animosity between their peoples."
"That is true. Ireland has been struggling with violence for years because of their differences."
"Yes, I understand religion is one of the main concerns," Sutu Lamat said and then blinked all three of his eyes, a sign of disgust. "It is such an unreasonable concept you humans have come up with. To assume that an all powerful being created you and now allows your every action or whim to dictate His happiness."
Wes, never a religious man himself, simply shrugged.
Sutu Lamat changed the subject.
"Let us move on to my favorite, what's the word? Medium -- it is very confusing to have a word have multiple definitions -- my favorite medium, which is music."
"Of course," Wes said. "We have several new songs for you today that I believe you'll enjoy."
They sat for over two hours listening to the songs Wes had brought that day. Wes barely heard them, concerning himself with Sutu Lamat's reaction, though it was difficult to read Valash's facial expressions and body language.
It appeared as though the Valash was pleased and when he was done listening he confirmed this.
"Ahh, that was very enjoyable. This band who performed the last song, what is their name?"
"Greenday. They were accompanied by Paul McCartney and John Legend."
"The product of their collaboration was one of my favorite pieces in the past few days. My people are sure to enjoy it."
"I'm glad to hear that."
"Yes, I imagine you would be. We are also pleased with how your people have begun to truly work together. I understand you played an important role in that happening."
Wes shook his head modestly. "No, Sutu Lamat, there were many people who made it happen. I simply encouraged my president that it was the best plan."
"Well, I am glad he listened. I grow fond of your people, Wes Williams, and I hope to one day call you my friend."
The first two bullets went over Wes' head and were later pulled out of the side of his apartment building. The third bullet hit Wes in the tricep of his left arm and found a temporary home there. The fourth bullet would have hit Wes in the head if he hadn't crumbled to the ground because of the pain in his arm.
The shots came from a new looking sedan without license plates. There was a driver and two passengers, one of whom shot at the former musician while the other shouted out the window. Witnesses heard different words being shouted. Some heard:
"Humans should not befriend those wishing to destroy us!"
"Only traitors befriend our destroyers!"
"Do you prefer out destroyers to your fellow humans now?"
Although the descriptions of the three attackers were surprisingly uniform -- two men, female driver, all wearing long sleeved black shirts and stockings over their faces, mid-western accents, appeared young -- the three were never found.
For the month leading up to the shooting, Wes Williams had been happier than at any other time since his daughter's death. Slowly, too slowly Wes sometimes feared, the petty and pointless regional unions and alliances had given way to a global understanding of the need to work together. Nations had opened their borders and the exchange of ideas between artists had accelerated to a dizzying rate. Many countries had been skeptical about this open door policy when President Clark had suggested it at Wes' urging. But several had stepped forward, the African Union being the first to see the necessity of working together with Europe, Latin America, Japan, and the Indian Sub-Continent being swift to follow. The rest of the nations had joined at their own pace. Even Cuba had opened diplomatic talks with the U.S. for the first time since before the cold war. Eventually a few final holdouts had grudgingly agreed, though China still would not allow foreign diplomats or artists within their borders.
Wes had found an apartment three blocks from where the government had set up a studio for the major artists to work in on the East Coast. They found that having so many creative minds together helped the flow of ideas even if they were working in different mediums. As an artist painted, a band would be jamming, and a dramatist would be reading through his play. There were small, quiet rooms where someone could work alone, but each artist spent at least some time in the common rooms.
Wes began to feel that the President's initial reaction was right and the Valash's arrival was a blessing for the planet. It would provide the catalyst of a global golden age that could help end war, poverty, pollution, and countless other problems facing humanity.
Hours after the shooting, as Wes was recovering in a hospital room guarded by two Secret Service agents, the President informed him that he was one of a dozen humans attacked globally. Five had died, two were in critical condition, and the remaining five were recovering.
"Apparently," the President said as he sat on the edge of Wes' bed, "some of our fellow humans aren't happy with those of our race who have developed a relationship with the Valash."
"So it was all ambassadors who were attacked?" Wes asked.
"Half, the other six were scientists and aides who have had dealing with the Valash. I am told as many as ten other attacks were planned but never carried out for various reasons."
"Why would they do this?" Wes moaned. "Do they want to destroy our race?"
"Don't look to me for an answer, Wes. I've always been baffled by fanatics."
"Have the Valash said anything about this?"
"At first they were confused. Valash do not attack other Valash it seems. When we further explained what happened, they were horrified. I cannot imagine it has helped our cause."
"Nor can I."
"Sutu Lamat sends his greetings however. He even said he was glad you are not dead. It's kind of an ironic sentiment when you consider what he originally came here to do, don't you think?"
"Yes, Mr. President, although the more I live, the more I realize humans have no right to a continued existence. It's not worth it to the rest of the universe."
"Don't give up, Wes, we have five weeks. We've made great strides. Surely the Valash will see that. Humanity will pull through this and be stronger and better for it."
Wes nodded his head but could not help thinking if that was not the bleaker of the two possible outcomes.
The deadline fast approached. Humanity had less than an hour before the Valash would decide if they should be allowed to live. Wes found himself looking down at the Hudson River from the railing of the George Washington Bridge for the second time in just over a year. He was supposed to have helped humanity, but he had been helpless. He could not wait for the Valash to make the judgment. He had already made his own.
But, once again, the Valash prevented Wes from following through with his plans.
"Wes Williams," a voice called from behind Wes. He turned and was surprised to see Sutu Lamat studying him curiously.
"What are you doing here, Wes Williams?" Sutu Lamat asked, honestly puzzled.
Wes thought about making up a story but just didn't have it in him. He sighed. "I am going to take my own life, Sutu Lamat. I see no reason to wait for your people to announce humanity's end."
"You do not know what their decision will be. Nor do I."
Sutu Lamat moved near the rail and looked at the water and then back to Wes.
"I was on duty aboard my ship the night we entered your atmosphere. We set out from our home sure this would be a simple mission of destruction. You were considered a plague, a cancer in the universe. Eventually you would destroy the other, advanced, and civilized raced who share this existence with you. We were still half a cycle away when we began receiving transmissions from your world, an odd assortment of images and noises our long range probes had not been designed to notice let alone transmit back home."
"We couldn't describe what we were seeing and hearing. We didn't understand how it made us feel things. How can sound evoke emotions? I still cannot answer that question and I do not believe anyone ever will."
"Commander Irom Haslat contacted our Leaders who changed our mission to a mission of gathering information after only a few minutes of looking over your transmissions. We had no words for what you create with such nonchalance, nothing even close. We have since borrowed language from this planet: art, poetry, painting, music! These saved your planet, for a time at least."
"I was in the ship which took position over the island named Manhattan. There is a large wooded and grassed area in the midst of that metal and concrete. We were drawn there like the insects of this planet are drawn to light. We discovered a symphony going on, we found out later it was music written by Beethoven. A people who can create such wonder are not beyond redemption."
"Well ... I am sure my people have proved you wrong over the past year," Wes said bitterly.
"You are a violent people. You have a capacity for brutality my race has never encountered. But you are also more diverse than any other race we have met and you have an equally large capacity for kindness and good. For this reason I am conflicted over what I want your fate to be. I do not doubt my leaders are similarly at a loss."
Wes shook his head. "On the night your people arrived, I was actually right here, Sutu Lamat. I was ready to take my own life because I had lost my daughter and my life fell apart. When I saw your ship floating right over there I wanted to live again, wanted to see what wonders your people would have to show us. But all you showed us was our own ugliness. I wanted to live when I thought we could change and when I thought I could help us to change. But now I know that is impossible."
"When a human says something is impossible, another human will say, 'look at the bumble bee'. It is a strange creature which should not be able to fly but does with apparent ease. Your people have not yet committed suicide,Wes Williams; you should not be so eager to do so yourself."
"But you are wrong, humanity has already committed suicide," Wes said bitterly. "Your people gave us another chance at life because of our arts. But we took that chance and did the same old things that got us here in the first place. This is our second suicide. Your people just have to make the announcement."
At that moment, the Valash took over the earth's communication systems.
© 2011 Tim Britto
Bio: Tim Britto grew up in Pine Bush, NY and graduated with a master's degree in English from St. John's University in Queens, NY. He currently works in the family court in Manhattan. A lifelong reader, especially of science fiction and fantasy, Tim hopes this is the beginning of a long and fruitful writing career.
E-mail: Tim Britto
Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum
Return to Aphelion's Index page.