Story: The Watcher Returns Home

Rummaging through some old website (which I made way back in 1999 to post short stories or ideas I came up with), I found this story. I’m not going to edit it or rewrite it in any way, so whatever mistakes you find are my 2001 self’s fault, not mine!

To provide some context, I believe I wrote this as a writing exercise for a now defunct Yahoo! writing critique group. We had to write whatever came to our minds in a certain amount of time, like half an hour or something.

The Watcher Returns Home

I

“The orders came in just a moment ago, sir. It is time.”

“I can’t believe they have approved such a nonsense. What about them?” The gray creature pointed to a rotating 3-D hologram of what humans – incorrectly – named Earth. The hologram and its projecting unit were placed in the middle of the control room, with all the Grays officers standing or moving around it. These creatures were tall and slender, their skin ranging from light gray to dark gray, depending on their age. The captain’s was dark gray, as he was the oldest officer on deck – over twelve earth’s millennia. The rest of the crew, although very young by Grays’ standards, where well over four hundred earth’s years old. Their current mission didn’t require much expertise, as relocating units was almost routine, and part of Basic Training; hence the youthfulness of the crew. However, this mission was very significant to the captain, since he had dedicated to Earth the most of his life. This planet he nurtured like he would a baby, the humans being carefully guided and taken care of.

And now, it was all over.

Again.

How could they’ve given such an order? The humans weren’t ready yet. They were still far from developing the technology necessary to move on. And now, after ten thousand Earth years, he’s asked to relocate the watching ship? He wondered what were the Council plans…

“Contact will be made official, sir. Those news also came just a moment ago.”

Oh, as if moving the watching ship wouldn’t cause enough hysteria, now they wanted contact to be made official! The humans weren’t prepared! Does this mean that the Council has finally given up on their pet project?

The captain sighed. “Alright, let’s move on. All men return to your posts! Engineering, prepare the teleportation unit at once! The Watcher will finally return home…”

The teleportation unit – a massive wormhole chain generator at the Watcher’s core – began to heat, lava starting to melt again and rise to the ship’s surface. The ship began to tremble, its huge body shaking as all systems began to come back to life. The Watcher had been abandoned for fifty years now, until the captain and his crew returned with orders of waiting for the seemingly imminent Council’s approval to relocate the Watcher to its final resting place.

The computer signaled with a beep the completion of the heating process. “Watcher’s ready, sir,” announced the rookie officer, “The tel-port unit is at full capacity. All systems are go.”

“Very well, then,” the captain acknowledged, “Begin count-down for tele-portation…”

“10…”

In Calcutta, India, a young astronomer has its first glimpse at what will be his career, as he points his telescope to the moon, and the stars…

“9…”

In China, a police raid ended the small reign of terror that a gang of kids was causing in the night streets of Beijing. The cop in charge of the operation raised his hands to the heavens thanking the Lord (or whomever watches them from the skies) for finally taking these kids out. He noticed how beautiful the night was…

“8…”

In Hong Kong, a strange oval shape of light was seen crossing the night sky by over two hundred eyewitnesses. They reported the object rising up to the heavens, coming from the horizon, and stopping right at zenith. The number of eyewitnesses has soared since it was first reported, and now it was reaching the tens of thousands, since the light object hasn’t moved from its position for over ten minutes now; it looks as if waiting for something to happen…

“7…”

In Krasnoyarsk, Russia, a couple in love embrace each other with passion in the night’s darkness, under a romantic full moon…

“6…”

In Sri Lanka, someone decides to look up, to the night sky, in just the precise moment…

“5…”

…as does someone in Kuala Lumpur…

“4…”

…Medan…

“3…”

…Bangkok…

“2…”

…Kathmandu…

“1…”

…and Singapure. And all of them watched, with either amazement or horror – or both – as the moon, shyly, innocently, and simply, disappeared.

Forever.

II

The night sky was full of stars.

They were all falling, or so it seemed. They were really synchronizing their descent, in perfect formation.

The people down below were in panic. It was the end of the world, to most of them.

“Sire, I perfectly understand that those were the orders. What I can’t understand is why.”

“The Council believes they are ready, captain. They need the Watcher to orbit another world. A new one. They have high hopes with this one…”

A new one. That meant that the Watcher wasn’t returning home, after all. But the main problem persisted. “And what about the humans? What will happen to them now, supposing that they can survive the Contact Shock?”

Contact Shock was one of the oldest recorded events in the Grays’ long history. Whenever they believed a lesser race – most of the time engineered by them – was ready to have official contact with its creators, the event that followed their descent from the skies was called Contact Shock. Most of the races – over 75% of them – didn’t survive this period, the idea of not being alone too much of a strain on their collective minds. Those who survived would begin a new and better era; those who didn’t wouldn’t last more than an Earth year. Humanity had already gone through Contact Shock once; the results were disastrous, but the Council – in a rare act of compassion and perseverance with one of its “own” (or, more likely, a victorious speech by the Watcher’s captain about giving the humans a second chance) – decided to do the wiping out process themselves, sparing just a few to begin the race anew. The first human Contact Shock occurred four thousands years ago.

“They will be relocated as well,” continued the Gray officer, “to the binary system of Udula Rhomp. Their ship is ready as well.”

“But it has never been tested before! How can the Council be sure Earth will be functional?”

“We have been testing it for millennia; granted, it was only an individual systems check, but that’s standard procedure.”

“You will relocate Earth without being 100% certain it works. With the humans inside.” The captain was definitely unhappy. He had devoted his very soul to this race, and now it seemed headed for destruction. The Council had lost all interest on them.

“Humans are not a priority anymore. But you need not worry, captain, your future assignment seems promising enough.”

And so it was. The captain sighed one final time – he had been sighing for quite awhile now – and decided to accept his new assignment with complacence. Maybe this new experiment will prove to be more successful…

Author’s note: For the sake of simplicity, the Grays speak english, express themselves like humans do, have a military hierarchy like the humans…just think of it in this way: they speak english so that you understand what’s going on; they don’t talk at all, but rather communicate through telepathy; their hierarchy is not modeled after humans, but quite the opposite – humans modeled their system after the Grays, without knowing it. Part of the genetic implant…? Imagination’s the limit.

Copyright © 2001 Samuel Pérez

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