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We have been doing some pretty serious stuff over that last few days. Today I thought I would do something lighter. This is another one of my short shorts. It’s a story about a little creature that loves to know that he has made a difference. This story is kind of the reverse of a science fiction, alternative history story. Let’s see if you can tell what I mean, and let’s see if you can figure out the setting before it becomes clear. The story is called, “The Meddler.”
“It’s at it again.” The Captain moaned. “The Meddler just found itself another civilization to play with. It is on its way to Verna Three. We better get moving.”
His second in command, asked, “What does the creature get out of it sir?”
“It gets a kick from knowing it has an effect. It studies a primitive civilization and determines what single act can change its development. The creature is seriously ill and we’ve got to stop it.”
The captain and his crew sped to Verna Three, and descended to the surface close on the Meddler’s heels.
They quietly left their ship. It was a dark night, and something eerie seemed to surround them in the darkness. As they walked, they discovered what it was; thousands of bodies lay strewn across the great field. A primitive battle had been fought with cannon and saber.
“Got it,” a crewman whispered. “It’s just ahead, close to the primitives. It’s using some kind of device on one of the primitives. The primitive is raising a weapon.”
“Oh no,” the captain grumbled and made a dive for the creature. The weapon fired just seconds before he brought the Meddler to the ground. The creature was subdued and pulled away from the primitives.
The Meddler smiled and its red eyes danced in delight. “You’re too late, listen.”
Everyone stood quiet and listened to the shouts of the primitives, “General Jackson’s been shot!”
The Meddler explained his plan with great glee, “If this army is successful, the nation will be forever split. The general is called Stonewall Jackson, and he is one of the great masterminds of this army. With his service I projected an 89 percent chance that they would be victorious and a new nation would be born. Without his service the percentage drops to 35 percent. He was in the field preparing to press his attack by moonlight. The soldier will say he thought the general was enemy cavalry, that’s the image I put in his mind. The general will die. Their medicine is far too primitive to save him. This nation will not split, and united, it will become the most powerful nation on this planet.”
Captain Roch and his crew left as quietly as they came; marking the place they called Verna Three as another planet to be closely watched.