The instructions were crystal clear. It had to be large enough to be visible from space. A bullseye constructed of natural stone would be surrounded by concentric circles, ultimately covering the entire valley floor. It also had to stand the test of time, because it could be eons before it was actually required. Or maybe never. That depended upon the evolution of the dominant species that inhabited the planet.
It also had to look natural, so that the dominant species would not see it for what it really was. In other words, it had to blend in, as much as possible. Yes, it might be seen as a phenomenon, and potentially become a tourist attraction or a holy site upon which religious rituals were held. After all, the dominant species was comprised of spiritual creatures who invented supernatural beings to answer what to them was unanswerable.
But the time had finally come. There was an imbalance that the dominant species had created on the planet. It took billions of years, but the planet was beginning to decay, and should that be allowed to happen, the effects upon the solar system in which the planet exists would be devastating, possibly even leading to adverse consequences throughout the galaxy.
“Our ancestors did what was asked of them,” the captain said. The target is clearly visible from deep space. “It’s time to engage the photomagnitron that will send the electromagnetic pulse directly to the center of the target. Upon impact, it will set off a chain reaction causing the planet to almost instantaneously implode.”
“Everything is ready,” the gunner said. “I await your orders, Captain.”
The captain took a deep breath. His order would destroy the planet and the civilization that inhabited it. What he was about to do was unprecedented, but his orders were clear. The dominant species had left no choice, having created an environment that would soon be unable to support life forms. Like a virus, it had to be destroyed before it infected the rest of the universe.
“Engage,” the captain said. He and his crew watched as, moments later, the electromagnetic pulse hit the bullseye and the third planet from the star named Sol disappeared.
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Image credit: Robert Lukeman @ Unsplash.