To Find a New Home
A letter from the Emperor. Sent to every living Martian Family in exile.
To my fellows. I recently met with the leaders of Earth. Here I recall a pleasant conversation with the Leader of a land called America.
It was pleasant; the conversation, I mean. Not the weather, to be sure. It was hot. It was always so hot here. Not in this room per se, but in general. I tire easily when it is hot. So, being here, in this cool place, talking with this man, it was pleasant.
The subject matter of our little chat was not as pleasant. But the man had some interesting points and I agreed to discuss it with him face to face. It only seemed right to accord him that much considering the pressure he felt. Besides, I owed him a favor. He really helped me out one time when my family and I were in some real trouble. He knows I owe him. So here I am, at his behest.
“I like what you have done with the place.” I said.
“Thank you. There are some wonderful perks that come with the job, like interior decorating. But the trick, being a public servant and all, is to not get too flamboyant. It looks bad. Keep it simple but elegant. We must keep up appearances you see.”
He paused and smiled that knowing smile of his.
“But you know I didn’t call you here to talk about decorating, so let’s get right to it.”
“Ah, yes, the famous Roosevelt directness. It is one of the many things I appreciate about you. Yes, let us be frank. That is the correct expression is it not?”
“Being frank? Why, yes it is. You are correct. I have no idea how you do that though. Being a foreigner and such. Your grasp of dialect and colloquialism is astonishing.”
“Let’s just check the box called experience and leave it at that. I like to put people at ease.”
This made The President laugh momentarily, as though he didn’t mean to.
“What? What did I say?”
“At ease? Is anyone ever at ease around you? I mean, here, on planet Earth. I have a little trouble believing that in light of recent events.”
I paused for effect.
“If you are referring to that unfortunate theatrical event over your radio waves, I remind you, and you know this already but it bears repeating, we were also not amused.”
The President of the United States leaned in and focused on what he had always assumed were his Martian friend’s eyes.
“While I agree that last night’s radio play was no fault of yours, I have to keep your existence a complete and total secret in order to keep the peace. You will forgive me if I have to remain aloof in regards to our friendship and mutual cooperation.”
He paused and continued.
“War is brewing. In fact it has already begun in Europe and we all know what happened last time. The people of this Union enjoy a relative peace and prosperity that has been hard fought. I am sorry if your people have been at all slandered but, as you can plainly surmise, I can’t do anything about that except to apologize.”
I felt for him, of course. But he failed to recognize my true concerns. I had assumed he was aware of a mutual problem. It was time I educated him.
“Sir, my home has always been Mars. I love my home. Perhaps I love it too much. For, you see, we have been irresponsible with our resources and our beloved home can no longer support life. We have to leave. We loved Mars to death. Now, it seems, we must find a new home and it is apparent that we cannot live here, with you. We had hoped we could join you here. But it is clear, by your own admission, we frighten you. There would be much violence. You are a violent people as evidenced by your history of war and wars to come. I know you won’t deny this. You are one of the smartest men I have ever met but there are too few like you. Last night’s panic over a radio play shows me that our kind would not be welcome. At least not now. The paranoia, fear, distrust, greed, avarice, and blatant irresponsibility of the people of Earth make it clear to me and my people that Earth is not a place we could share. So, we must leave this system of planets and find a new home out there, somewhere. Our two peoples will never benefit from friendships, cooperation, mutual undertakings, history, and strides toward the betterment of all people. For this I am sorry.”
I let him ponder the implications. Then continued.
“As for my debt to you, I leave you with this; but there are conditions. You can have Mars. In time you will be capable of reviving it but I beg you to wait a few decades. We need time to remove not only ourselves but all evidence that we ever existed in the first place. If your people knew of us there would be consequences. It would mean we had been there all along and that would only clarify paranoid fears that already exist in the minds of men. Governments would fall and Earth would be thrown into a dark age. This way you people of Earth can find challenges in the reaching out to the stars on your own terms. Never the wiser that there were those who tread before you. Apparently, humans need to feel superior in that way. I suggest you start slowly. Then work your way up to the Moon. Take your time and things will unfold as though they were meant to. We will not interfere and our existence will never have been.”
The President looked thoughtful, took a sip of his lemonade, which is wonderful, by the way, and then made one last statement.
“Have I ever told you about the time I met Babe Ruth?”
He smiled that knowing smile again and we spent the rest of the afternoon discussing the merits of baseball.
- Elder G’han, Last Emperor of Mars, Earth Year 1939.