“So the decision has been made?”
“Yes, just as we expected. It was nearly unanimous by the time they calculated out the consequences. I guess it’s pretty much like all of the others.” She toyed with a Petrie dish, sliding it around on the top of the laboratory counter. “I guess this will be the end of the study also. There isn’t much of a point if WE’VE decided to leave it alone.”
He looked at her sadly, putting his hand on the back of her shoulder. He hadn’t forgotten the effect that it would have on him also. The end of the study would mean that everyone would be splitting up in all directions, onto other planets, maybe even someday, other galaxies. But mostly he would be separating from her. It would be unlikely that they would end up in the same research study once again. These long years had bound them together, and it would be hard to separate now.
“I’m clueless about where exactly I’ll be heading.” He blurted out, unable to say what he meant, and unable to even finish his sentence.
Eve turned quickly, instantly aware of what he was feeling. She knew, because she had those same regrets building inside of her. It was terrible to be split up after so many intense experiences in the labs, on field studies together.
“I know, I know.” She held the hand that had dropped from her shoulder. She squeezed it slightly, his face lifted to hers. The tear forming in each of their eyes was an inevitable as the smiles they passed to each other.
“It’s their fault.” He suggested suddenly. “Why couldn’t they have been better at developing than they were?” he asked himself. “The further along they would have been, the more there would have been to study, and the longer this research team would have had to study them to find out just how far they had developed.” He just sighed after saying this quietly, knowing that she felt all of this just as painfully as he did.
“They gotten quite far in a few million years.” She said, making an effort to give them a positive perspective. “From a single germ or two in the middle of one land mass, they managed to spread across the entire surface with only two exceptions. And even that isn’t quite true.” he corrected himself, “They have tried spreading out in those directions, but never really got much of a colony to rise.”
“True.” He answered, “There is a lot of other things growing on this planet that were better than they were at expansion and colonization. Some of them are pretty small, but managed to travel great distances without any kind of transportation system, just incremental stages with a few leaps and bounds of development here and there.”
“Some of the species are remarkable, having lived at all in the harshest environments to their biological systems.” She went back to playing with the dish on the counter, sticking a finger inside of the edge and spinning it around her finger. It made a scratchy, plastic sound, even on the smooth surface of the table.
“But of course, we aren’t studying those, as fascinating as they are.” His eyes drawn to the noise she was making with her finger and the dish. “Their biodiversity is quite wide, but not so interesting, or having the potential as that of a larger species.” He corrected himself immediately, “I mean, widely developed, compared to some much larger mammals that we found here.”
Suddenly emotion overtook him. He grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her to face him. His jaw clenched tightly, but he fought it off and forced himself to speak the words that might radically alter both their lives.
“Eve. We could put in for a special study, to remain here and perhaps find out more, even if it wasn’t essential to the overall study of life across this galaxy. Surely they can see that each species is remarkable even if they haven’t achieved planetary expansion?” he asked many questions, but hoped she would weed out the one he was really asking.
Her jaw dropped slightly, but then tightened again as the seconds passed by. She looked up into his eyes, seeing the desperation in them, and the longing as well.
“Do you think they might let us stay and develop our own colony? Right here?” her questions themselves were largely ignored except for the fact that she was contemplating what he had asked her. She turned away, fearing that his answer wouldn’t be what she wanted to hear.
“Of course, we would have to take very strict compliance vow to assure our non-interference.” She spoke without turning back to him. They both knew that such contracts could even include being whisked back to their planet without a moment’s notice, or to opposite ends of the galaxy never to hear from each other again, not even in the several hundred years remaining of their lifetimes.
They both turned simultaneously, facing each other, then stepping into each other’s arms. “But it would be worth it” he spoke first. “And I think we could do it anyway. They kissed and groped as only two of their species could do with their adaptable bodies. It was the best they could do to simulate the actions of the Human species that they studied. They were in their laboratory after all, and might remain there for hundreds of years, if they were lucky.