And They Stayed
by Sharon Poppen
"Creaton, the cloaking shield is up."
"Thank you, Gabrel. Now, move us from this moon." Creaton’s pilot navigated their two-man, ship toward the blue-green planet. “This is the last colony to observe before returning to Hevana. The data needs to be accurately recorded for analysis."
"So sad. Few colonies planted eons ago have survived and those that have are still quite primitive."
"It is sad," lamented Creaton.
The terrain became visible. "Gathering data, " Gabrel reported. “Creaton, look!"
"I see, Gabrel!"
"Drop lower. I must see the inhabitants." Creaton directed.
"They've thrived, multiplied."
"Indeed, Gabrel. Look, they've learned to fly. They’ve conquered water."
"They’ve done well. Would they remember us?"
"No. When they were placed here, they agreed to lose thousands of years from their lives due to the heavy atmosphere."
"Creaton, look up the names of the two original settlers."
"I don’t need to. I remember them. It was Aidaim and Eeve."
"They’ve done well. How did you get them to stay?"
"I took them down to this beautiful planet. I told them to taste the ocean surging onto the coastal rocks through the fog. Feel the breeze swirling through forests and meadows planting a future. Smell the desert taking a rare drink of rain. Watch the sun flash a goodnight. Listen to their night creatures call to the moon."
"And they stayed?"
"Yes, they stayed."
"May I do those things, Creaton?"
"Maybe someday, somewhere, but this is their world." Creaton smiled. "Home, Gabrel. I am pleased."