“Is it really real, Marce? Does that place really exist?”
The question was asked by a young member of the Yekrevit species, discovered by humans some 10 odd years ago. They were a fairly technologically advanced species, by human standards, though they hadn’t made many forays into the space surrounding their planet, preferring to focus their efforts on the ground they resided on.
Marce turned to regard her friend. Even through the tinting on her helmet, she could easily pick out the bright gold flecks that adorned the Yekrevit’s purple skin. She was certain that the bubble shape of her helm distorted things and made her friend’s arms seem longer than they actually were, though she wasn’t about to complain either. After all, why should members of other planets follow the human model of body design?
“It did, once,” Marce replied vaguely. “It’s long gone now.”
“What happened to it?”
“Humans destroyed it. They wanted the resources it had to offer, and they didn’t care about what they lost getting them.”
“What about the watery places you told me about?”
“Polluted. Everything died.” Marce turned to look at her friend again. The disbelieving hurt look in the Yekrevit’s large black eyes made her wince. “We weren’t good at looking after our planet like you were. By the time we all realized the consequences of what we were doing, it was too late. The planet went toxic, and we had to leave.”
“That’s not going to happen here, is it?”
Marce looked around at the planet surface. Vibrant, glowing grass waved in the air currents with the grace of seaweed in the water. Thick, orange mounds, their equivalent of trees, dotted the landscape and bore fruits in a rainbow of colors. The Yekrevit coexisted with their nature, tended to it, rather than forcefully molding it like humans did back on Earth. To the untrained eye, this planet looked untouched.
“No. No. It took billions of us to break our planet. I doubt a few dozen could do the same to yours, even if we hadn’t learned our lesson.”
The Yekrevit looked thoughtful. Or pensive. Marce still had difficulty reading Yekrevit expressions.
“I always wondered why the elders looked at you humans the way they do.”
“Do you want us to leave?”
“Where would you go?”