We Are Not Gone

You think we died. You think we went extinct.

You are wrong.

When you finally found earth, surrounded by a shell of broken satellites, you saw a dead world. You sent down probes that set off all our security devices, destroying not just the probes, but the ships that launched them. You see, we’d forgotten to turn off the lights when we went. Sorry about that.

You sent more ships to investigate what had happened. They found the crunchy metal shell around earth. They found the dead landscapes and the gelatinous seas. They sent down more probes. Our security sent up more missiles.

You brought friends next time. You figured that maybe someone else could figure out the enigma of the dead planet. Alas, your friends died in the heavily-polluted atmosphere. Yeah, you kind of have to get used to breathing in heavy metals if you’re not predisposed to it. Also, it’s probably a good thing they died before the plagues got to them. Trust me. We’d designed a weight-loss plague and it turned into species-wide anorexia. Just a mess. Best not to share that around.

And soon every race in the galaxy learned that earth was a no-fly zone. Anyone who approached near was never heard from again. And the inhabitants of our planet became like boogiemen, strange creatures that would come and find you if you disobeyed the patriarch or the eggmother or whatever your species preferred for a source of authority. Be careful, or you’d end up on the ghost planet that killed whoever came near. Beware!

But where had we gone? Where were we, that the entire universe thought of us as nothing more than deadly pixies?

No, we hadn’t killed ourselves. A lot of people thought that we would, especially at the end, with all the enhanced cockroaches eating at our homes, with all the nuclear weapons aimed everywhere, with the satellites blocking out the sun… but we persevered.

But we knew we’d killed the planet. We considered putting ourselves in stasis until the earth healed, but no. We didn’t like being left that defenseless. We had no idea our weapons were enough to take out entire alien armadas. Again, sorry about that. We considered portals to other worlds, but no. We had no clue what awaited us on the other side and whether or not it would kill us. We needed more research at least. There were a lot of suicide cults in those last days, too.

In the end, though, we all wised up.

Probes to alien planets told us all we needed to know. And with just a little genetic engineering… we looked just like you. And we scattered to the eight corners of the galaxy, here and there, on every inhabitable planet.

And we’re on your world now, those of us who come from earth, from that planet you so fear. We might be working with you. We might be living with you. Maybe one of us is even telling you this story. Oh, don’t panic. I’m not here to get you… yet.

We’re humans. We’ve adapted. And we can find each other; we know how.

Be careful. Otherwise we’ll do to your planet what we did to our own, and we’ll start right here with your home.

We did not disappear. We’re right here.

So you better behave.

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