display | more...

Don't go where? What planet are you talking about? Earth? Oh. Well, you see, son - it's kind of hard to explain.

Peace, it's a tricky thing. You can't just force it on people; very hypocritical. Can't just go tromping into their neck of the woods, emasculate them, tell them to settle down, and expect them to do it. You have to be very subtle about it, and even then it's tooth and nail. I mean, it really only works if you really want it.

But one of the good things about it - and why we exist - is that, eventually, everybody does really want it. Especially the ones that catch on first. They've learned how to settle their differences with words and feelings, and to not take everything so personally. And it takes awhile, but they start taking control of the situation, and they do good things. But there's still some troublemakers out there, and that's where we kind of step in and do our job. We promote peace. Subtly, but all the time. Promote the hell out of it, too, if I do say so myself.

So, anyway, when we first find a planet, we just kind of scope it out, put it away in the files. Sometimes they're all ready to go, and we can just step in, organize things a little bit, and be on our way. Most of the time they haven't hit self-awareness yet, and those of course are all back there in the Sentience Department. Some great tech back there working on protozoan empathy. Maybe in another eon or two ...

Well, we found Earth, it was about halfway between. Kind of a rarity, actually, which made it talk of the town. There were a lot of takers early on. Every ambitious middle manager in the galaxy started gaming for it, trying to pad their resumes. But when we sent in the first couple of agents, it was a disaster. If they didn't kill them outright, they'd languish in obscurity. They never made any progress, either; they'd pop down one day and be back up in 3 months. Always full of good cheer - the blessing of low expectations - but slightly bewildered by the whole thing, you know? Like the first time through the Graviport.

We kept pushing, of course, just to stay on our toes. But then one day word came down from the top that we were sending in The Big Gun. And so all those managers just kind of sighed sadly, cuz The Big Gun had never failed before. He just had a real natural talent, really personable, cool, collected - a total hit at parties - and well, when they sent in The Big Gun, that was that. So we all just took on other projects while he sorted things out.

And then one day he was back. It must've been about 30 years - normally he'd go for at least 150. They had a huge debriefing, behind closed doors for about a week, lots of rumors. Finally they sent down something else from the top: the Earth file was going on "permanent hiatus." Nobody even knew what it meant. We kept trying to get answers out of people, but you know how it goes, more legends than fact. Got out of hand, really, and I doubt any of it was true. All I know is that The Big Gun doesn't do parties any more.

A few agents still ship down there occasionally to do some reporting and research. They've got wild stories to tell. They say that people down there still remember TBG - and that they kill people who don't. They just laugh about it, the very idea, it's, it's so absurd. Can you imagine that, killing in the name of peace? I think he told some of the smarter ones, before he left, that he wouldn't give up on them, that he'd come back. I don't think he's up for it, though. Too bad. One of the all-time greats.

So, you see now. Nobody goes to Earth anymore.

And we think they kind of like it that way.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.