Why They Didn't Come Back After Roswell, a Short Story
Natnow padded up to the communication array as quickly as his spindly legs would take him. The moment he was seated, the broad, white face of his superior filled his mind. The large, black, wise eyes of Hawcan were usually reassuringly familiar after Natnow’s troubling discovery.
“I have confirmed the loss of the exploration craft,” Natnow said. “There were no survivors,” Natnow said, the emotional loss flowing through him and thus through the telepathic feed to his superior.
“Did their suspended animation units fail?” his superior asked.
“They landed in a remote part of the lesser continent, then entered suspended animation.” Space travel took decades, even for Natnow’s kind. With their long life spans and suspended animation, a century or two of waiting was only a moderate inconvenience. “However, the indigenous land living nearly sentient life form found them.” Natnow’s dismay radiated through the instantaneous communication device. “And they had advanced sufficiently to enter the craft against the will of the suspended crew.”
Hawcan’s surprise fed back to Natnow. “They are ahead of expected development!”
“Not only did they find the crew, but they dissected them And the information of their findings were distributed through the local culture. And attempts to land by single pod and use telepathy to blend it would likely fail. They are already aware of our appearance and our ability to manipulate nearly sentient minds.”
“Are you preparing to return?” Hawcan asked.
“I remain to study further problems,” Natnow said.
“What problems remain to study?”
“The faster than light drive encountered a troubling differential in this solar system. It is interfered with my own interstellar drive as well.” Natnow ran a secondary check of his own system. “The prior craft crashed as a result of interference with this reality differential. My craft is merely affected, but should remain stable enough to depart.”
“Is that the problem you have been studying?”
“I have been studying the physics differential for my own survival. However, I have also been studying the differential’s effect on this solar system.” Natnow forwarded the data he had collected thus far.
“Is it responsible for the accelerated development of the indigenous near intelligences?” Hawcan asked.
“Possibly. However, our ships pull upon the transdimensional strings for power to travel.” Natnow paused, reluctant to continue. “The greater concern with the differential here is the effect of our ships upon the local differential.”
“Explain,” Hawcan demanded.
“The transdimensional strings in this region are warped. The effects may or may not be accelerating local life. This effect did affect the prior craft’s drive, causing it to fail and crash. However, the prior ship’s interstellar drive also affected the local transdimensional strings in ways that affect four dimensional physics.” Natnow let that information be forwarded by his superior, for as strange as that concept was. “The inhabited planet has experienced a thermal increase as well, as the solar body here experienced greater thermal activity due to the ship’s interaction with the local transdimensional strings. I am attempting to ensure that my departure does not worsen the stellar warming caused by the prior ship’s arrival.”
“Can you undo the phenomena?” Hawcan asked.
“The local cultural interference is undesirable, but has already occurred. The current generation is already affected –“
“Then the cultural event is now embedded in group memory and cannot be eliminated. That damage is thus done. However, the solar state must be returned to normal. Do whatever is necessary so that the transdimensional effect no longer causes their solar body to overheat, as you say it has done.”
“I am not certain that I can undo those effects and retain the capacity to return,” Natnow said.
“We have damaged the near-sentient land living culture by arriving. But the solar over-heating affects an entire ecosystem, including the water-living species.”
“Some of those sentient aquatics are recently extinct,” Natnow reported.
“All the more reason to undo the damage,” Hawcan insisted.
“Where shall I remain in waiting for you to recover me?” Natnow asked.
“What are the odds that a rescue ship will cause new damage to the local solar body after you have fixed it?” Hawcan asked.
Natnow ran the projections. The odds were greater than fifty percent that another ship of any size would cause new interdimensional damage to the local solar system– if Natnow could repair the damage. If Natnow could not repair the damage, a new ship could still not be sent, for the likelihood of making things worse. Natnow could not suppress his displeasure. Hawcan felt it and shared it.
“I have worked with you for several centuries,” Hawcan said. “And there is no pleasure in losing yet another explorer to this solar system. Be assured, we will maximize the odds that this does not happen again.”
Natnow withdrew from the communications array. The interdimensional oddity of this solar system made travel here impossible without affecting the local sun. The land living intelligences had killed his peers. Natnow’s emotions ran uncharacteristically high. Why should it give up its ability to return home so that their world would no longer be overly heated by an overheated sun, while their world still remained within its habitable range? Their world. Natnow remembered the many vibrant aquatic species. Freeform communication, glorious harmony between the many sizes of their range of species. Some were extinct because the land living near intelligence had killed them. The land species may or may not have begun hunting them as the large land living species had gone extinct, possibly due to the warming by the increased solar activity though also by their own hunting. But there were many species of aquatics below. Some of those aquatic species had dwindled in number for uncertain reasons.
Natnow decided. The aquatic species sets needed this task done, the damage undone. The solar activity died back to its normal levels as Natnow’s body was dissolved in a final blur of energy.
© 2018 Tamara Wilhite