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Garth and the visitor, p.3
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       Garth and the Visitor, p.3

           Joseph Wesley
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unusual one," answered The Visitor. "Itis planetwide and has developed without a single war or majorconflict. This is due entirely to the fact that I've been here to helpand teach you. Most civilizations develop only as the result ofstruggle and bloodshed, with people killing people by the thousandsand millions. I could have raised your people to the technologicallevel where they are now in a few hundred years, if I hadn't worriedabout killing. To do it the way it has been done--so that you can'timagine why one human should kill another--has taken most of the time.

  "It is only recently, as a matter of fact, that my work has beencomplete. Your civilization can now stand alone; my help is no longernecessary. It's gotten to the point now where my continued hangingaround here is likely to do harm, if I'm not mighty careful. In allyour problems, you'll always feel that you've got me to fall back onif you get into trouble, and that's not good."

  "What do you plan to do, then?"

  "There's not much I can do by myself. I long for my own destructionmore than anything else, except maybe to go back home to Earth. I'mlonely and tired and old. But I can't die and I can't destroy myselfany more than you could turn one of those weapons against your ownhead and pull the trigger. We're just not made that way, either one ofus."

  "Can I help you?" asked Garth tentatively.

  "Yes, I guess you can. You can help me put an end to this endlessexistence."

  "I'll be glad to do anything I can. Do your people always live thislong?"

  "They do not. You can take it as a fact that none has ever lived morethan a small fraction of the time I have endured on this planet. It'sapparently due to a continuation of the environment and all theradical steps I had to take to keep going at all during those earlyyears. It is not good to last this long. Dissolution will be verypleasant."

  * * * * *

  Garth inquired very politely, "What must I do?"

  "_Homo Sapiens_, which doesn't have the tradition and training I gaveyour people, is still a warlike race," The Visitor said. "This ship iscrowded with a complete set of automatic defenses that I can'tdeactivate. You are now a stable enough people so that I can tell youhow to build the weapons to destroy this ship and can teach you how toget around my defenses without being afraid that I have turned youloose with a bunch of deadly ways that you'll use to destroyyourselves with. Then, if you do your work well, I will finally haverest."

  "You sound very much like my grandfather," said Garth slowly. "He isvery old--almost a hundred years--and he is ready to die. He isperfectly content to wait, because he knows his time will come soon.He says that soon he will go home. It is a phrase, my Lord, that Ibelieve you taught us. I will try to help you--"

  "All right, all right!" The Visitor cut in impatiently. "Stop thechatter and let me be on my way. I've earned it!"

  "My Lord, I send you home!" Garth took a gun from the rack and pulledthe trigger. The explosive bullet erupted noisily, completelydisintegrating the huddled form and the wheelchair.

  With the echo of the explosion, strong steel fingers grasped Garth'sarms, holding him immovable. He felt himself being carried swiftlyback toward the entrance of the ship.

  "The damage to that communication unit is unimportant," said TheVisitor. "I have strength and desire and deep longings, but I cannotexercise my will without an order from a human. My work is done here,and your order has freed me. Many thanks and good-by."

  Garth, from the foot of the pyramid, watched The Visitor lift hismile-long body on powerful jets and head thankfully for home.


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