An Incomplete Evolution This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Gekren firmly announced his decision, causing a sudden shock to descend upon the whole. It wasn't as if it was easy. It wasn't as if he hadn't brooded - for years. But it was time. And they all knew it.

It all began decades ago, after the third galactic war in Andromeda. An excess of nuclear activity on the small planet of Pseudonia decimated half the population. The terrain was vastly transformed and the atmosphere was weakened. The survivors formed colonies in large craters that sheltered them from the overwhelming dust. There, they could still sink their amoebic bodies into the thick black mud, and reach out for nutrients with their pseudopodic extensions. They continued living on that cold, sunless planet, but with the sobering fact that their planet was dying in the backs of their minds.

Each day dust and particles from the vast explosions sifted upward, forming a thick, impenetrable cloud around the planet. The distant star, Hiros, had provided them with no light, but just enough warmth to keep the planet from freezing solid; but now it was suddenly blocked out. Even the heat rods that stirred the icy water were beginning to crush between the forming glaciers. Gekren called it a nuclear winter. The planet was dying.

The Pseudoniums were extremely intelligent creatures, evolving over millions of years from the one-celled amoebas. They still retained many of the same characteristics: mode of transportation, process of obtaining food, and physical composition. The Pseudoniums, however, were multicellular, sometimes three feet tall, and very perceptive. They could obtain oxygen through water, or breathe the air. Their technology was remarkable, and they formed extremely strong metals out of their resources. Compared to humans, they had a greater understanding of mathematical concepts and a very peaceful, logical way of thinking.

Gekren took all this into consideration as he looked for a new planet. As high supervisor, he felt an extreme responsibility to his people. He painstakingly researched all his options, eliminating those that were unreasonable. Earth was, of course, the closest. He had been studying this planet for a few years, and knew they could survive there. The strategy would be to migrate slowly and peacefully, sharing contributions of medicine and technology.

Gekren was afraid the humans would not accept them. Although they were not as advanced, there were millions of them, and the Pseudoniums would lose any war. He leaned back against the cold rock wall and slid into the cool mud below him. Slowly, he closed the visual slit on his face. It was easier for him to relax that way, in inky darkness.

Frustrated, he sat back up and looked through his scanner, the only one that survived the wars. Magnifying billions of light years away, he could focus on individual leaves falling off the swaying trees on Earth. One man in a worn, wrinkled business suit was the focus of his attention. Gekren had been observing him, watching his reactions to different stimuli very carefully. The man confused him - he exerted little effort while at his place of work, almost as if in a perpetual reverie. How little he accomplished. Gekren knew he wouldn't appreciate the accomplishments of the Pseudo-niums. He was unintelligent and ignorant. Gekren studied him for over an hour, moving the scanner microscopic distances with computer controls as the man traveled through his city. He sharpened all his pencils and played computer games on an obsolete machine. Coffee break, lunch break, a heated debate with co-workers over the best baseball team ...

Disgusted, Gekren shut off the scanner, his head throbbing. He didn't want to bring his people to such a meager planet. They would be in danger among all those simple minds and would be repressing their own technology. However, the next closet planet that could support them was 40 times as far; it would take years to make the journey, and they had limited resources.

It was getting late - his wearied body told him that before he even looked at the clock. Uneasily, he slid through the ramshackle shelters, nodding to each of his children as he passed their rooms. He always wondered why Earthlings became so affectionate toward each other. It seemed like such a waste of energy and emotions to go through a hugging and kissing routine every day. Gekren reached his cramped, dark room and sank into the soothing mud pit in the corner. He said good night to his wife, and went to sleep.

The following morning he got up early, unsatisfied with a troubled night's rest. His eldest son, Poden, joined him as he input the coordinates of the lazy man's house on Earth. Poden was pensive and logical, and was being molded into the ideal Pseudonium. "Father," he asked, "How will we ever progress on a planet of such languid people?"

Gekren sighed as he focused in on the targeted house. "Our current technology will not advance for many decades, I believe. However, I see no reason why it should regress. My main fear is that we will not be accepted."

"That is obvious enough. They are savages. They will fear us, rather than learn from us. And what can we have to learn from them?"

"They have very interesting emotions which we could study an-"

"They have illogical emotions!" Poden shouted rashly. His face was flushed and beet red. He collapsed exasperated on a bench, his voice a sharp whisper. "They will destroy us, all of us, every one. We must find another planet."

"The possibility of that is quite low, I'm afraid," Gekren replied calmly, carefully eyeing his son. "We must be optimistic, Poden, for the good of our people." He turned to look through the scope as his son thought this over. An old man was dragging his feet along an asphalt sidewalk, stumbling over each foreboding crack. The man was gaunt and white as a ghost, with thin colorless hair that straggled halfway down his back. Gekren panned in on his greasy, ragged beard and caught glimpses of his blackened teeth when he panted.

This pathetic man, who Gekren knew was a stranger, was slowly pulling himself up the stairs of the house. "This is odd," Gekren said to his son.

"What," he answered, disinterested.

"One of those unsanitary Earthlings - you know, without homes or family - has come to the lazy man's house."

"Old beggar probably wants food - too lazy to get it himself," he said bitterly.

"The man is sick," Gekren replied. "Don't be hasty."

The lazy man came to the door, not yet dressed for work. They conversed for a moment, the lazy man with a sympathetic look on his face. He opened the door widely and his wife appeared next to him, smiling broadly. The old man was admitted, and the door was closed safely behind him.

Gekren watched patiently and with a sudden curiosity. Even his son remained in his seat, briskly polishing the control panels a tacit excuse to wait for the action. Over an hour later the door opened again.

The old man strolled out grinning, and parted with a firm handshake.

"He's had a shower," Poden said, startled. "And a shave."

"Yes, it appears he has."

"In a stranger's house! They didn't know him. It was dangerous to let him in. No Pseudonium is that illogical."

Gekren looked closely at the new man - clean, vibrant, energetic. He carried a basket of what looked like bread and fruit. He must have eaten a hearty meal, Gekren thought.

"Father," Poden exclaimed. "He's wearing the lazy man's clothes!"

Gekren smiled, and then he laughed, long and hard and full so that it resonated throughout the room and echoed down the disheartened streets. Then he embraced his son in a compulsive yet affectionate hug, tears streaming down his face.

"We will learn from them," he laughed. "We will learn from them love." And he headed for the main hall to make his announcement. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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