“The Greatest Show, on Earth”, it was dubbed. Would be more appropriate to call it the “Greatest Show in the Galaxy”, but thankfully, no one really seemed to mind. It had become a welcome distraction for all the inhabitants of the Rigel system, and we’d really become attached. Why, we even had a flourishing business around the whole shebang.

It started off as an experiment – to see if we could create sentient beings. The Sol system was chosen for the first attempt – at the fringes of our galaxy, not too far, yet not too close. It picked up surprisingly well; the primal broth gave rise to first aquatic and then terran life, one species of which quickly evolved to dominate the others.

Of course, once the species expanded and things got interesting, we wanted to figure in the Show as well. We often visited them, leaving our traces on their set as we nudged the plot subtly forward – the pyramids, the Stonehenge, careful to never reveal ourselves or leave anything overt behind. Except the Easterners – they were always a vain lot, and couldn’t resist filling an island with images of themselves.

With time, we no longer interfered; hoping that they would quickly take the path that would lead them to us, and that would be the final act, the ultimate success.

Now however, nothing much seemed to be happening. If anything, they were in a downward spiral. Sure, they had always fought, it was but natural. But it was growing disproportionately large, and nothing good came out of the skirmishes, as it once used to. They were slowly killing the planet with their wasteful habits, and yet hadn’t figured out how to use the System around them. Their minds had become slaves to their own tools, and there was a lethargy pervading it all.

Left to itself, we feared it might fail soon.

But the Show must go on. We could not let it just end with nothing. It was time to take center stage.

The Fleet was ready.

Time for the humans to meet their creators.

Devashish is a member of LSD.


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