“I want everyone on that planet eliminated, Shadrach,” proclaimed Braux, the leader of the Kestel delegation.
I nodded once, and with a wave of his hand he dismissed me. The species would not die as mine had. There would be a few left to start over. I always made sure a few were left.
I didn’t like the Kestel, and I particularly didn’t like that pompous leader, Braux, but I needed this assignment. I already felt the effects of my last feeding starting to wear off.
I entered the Kestel hangar and climbed aboard my single-seat war bird. How many had I killed over the years? There wasn’t any way to come up with a figure; I had fed on more civilizations than I could remember. I was the Eliminator.
My next quest was a small planet on the far side of the galaxy. This planet had been playing around with nuclear energy for many years, and they still hadn’t realized the potential or the danger; all they could see was a weapon, a weapon of mass destruction, a weapon that could kill millions of enemies in one strike.
I fed the coordinates of the planet into the computer and watched the ceiling of the hangar open.
I reached over and pressed the ignition button; both nuclear engines kicked in. I pushed the throttle forward and the war bird shot straight up. The twin engines exhaled white fire as I streaked across the dark-blue sky towards the total blackness of space.
As the acceleration pushed me back into my customized pilot’s chair, I felt cool air inflate my flight suit, taking the pressure off my back. The sprawling Kestel city surrounding the port grew smaller in my rear video as I watched the planet start to fall away. The sky turned black and I shot into space.
* * *
Once there were five Eliminators. I closed my multiple eyes and saw their faces. Four were my family: myself, my wife, my son, and my daughter. The fifth was my friend, Amious. One day I returned from a mission in the Orion system to find that my family’s souls had been taken; another of my species had fed on them.
The last thing Amious said was “My soul was hungry.” The last thing Amious heard was “My soul is hungry.” And I left him to rot where he fell.
I was the last of my kind.
Someday I would return to feed my soul on the Kestel planet. It was inevitable.
I may not have a scientist’s understanding, but I feel I am doing the universe a favor. I’m not just feeding my soul, I’m getting rid of all the undesirables, the planets that cause problems. For instance, the planet I’m going to feed on could blow itself up with nuclear energy. That would leave a void in the solar system that could cause catastrophic reactions. Asteroids and planets would collide as they shifted position, and that could spread throughout the galaxy, causing even more turmoil.
I may even be doing the whole universe a favor.
I set the hyperspace jump for the other side of the galaxy, and I spread out in my pilots’ chair and relaxed.
* * *
When I emerged from hyperspace, I could see the target solar system straight ahead. It is beautiful, with its bright, yellow sun and its multicolored planets; I slowed as I passed the red planet and came up to the small blue planet.
This would be the third time this planet had started over. The third time it had been eliminated; I know, I was present all three times.
I switched off the nuclear engines when the war bird obtained orbit and shifted to solar power. This would allow me to reach a slow enough speed for entry into the atmosphere and to launch my missile, and not get shot myself. My energy-hungry shields won’t work without the reactors, but that’s not an issue; this quaint species can’t hurt a war bird.
I turned sharply to the left and down, and pointed the nose of the war bird toward the planet. I like to look at these underdeveloped civilizations before they died.
I extended one of my long, slender appendages and let it rest on the launch button. I wanted to savor the moment before I launched the missile that would allow me to feed on their souls. A feast awaited me.
“Sorry,” I said, “third time is not the charm.”
I saw a flash of light out of the corner of my eyes. A puny flying vehicle had approached unnoticed and had launched a missile. That was careless of me.
I looked in the fore video and saw the distant ship off to my left. I smiled at this feeble attempt on my war bird; this species was merely delaying its death for a few moments. I banked hard to the right, and at the same time I dropped altitude, watching the apparently heat-seeking missile pass above me in a slow spiral.
I laughed as another missile shot past below me, and I gained altitude.
I smiled as I turned the war bird hard to my left and easily avoided another missile. These creatures are pathetic — why are they so afraid to die? Do they actually think their archaic missiles are a match for my war bird’s technology?
I glanced at my rear video, surprised. The creature’s ship was directly behind me, and it looked as if it was determined to fly right into my ship. That’s unethical!
I vaguely sensed my war bird erupting into a ball of fire as the creature gave its life, sparing its planet. I gravely misjudged this world, and now I am lost in the abyss. I’m not really here and I’m not really there; I’m not really anywhere.
Please, someone feed on my soul and release me! *
About the Author: Frederick G. Soper, known as Fred to his friends and family, is 59 years old and was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. His mother can attest to this, as she was present at the time. Fred retired from the United States Air Force after 20 years of undetected crime and is now living in Litchfield, Michigan, with his wife, Letta. They have five children: Theresa, Rick, Chastity, Iona, and Jason.
Fred has always loved science fiction and decided after his retirement to try his hand at writing it. He is not making a lot of money, but what the hell — the whole purpose is to enjoy it, ain’t it?
(c) 2007 Frederick G. Soper Northstar492@core.com
About the Artist: Romeo Esparrago was assigned by The Nine Alien Overlords to provide artwork for Planet Magazine. He’s not very happy about it, but what can ya do.
(c) 2007 Romeo Esparrago