Friday, 25 June 2010

What's in a Name? (Part 5)

‘Despite these problems, over the years the Rigellians developed villages, and were able to maintain a good living out of the land they had settled in. The land they settled on, however, quickly became unproductive since they worked it very hard, and eventually they were forced to seek us out for help, regardless of their xenophobic tendencies. They needed help. We have been told by those who have adopted our ways that their planet of origin was far more fertile than this one, and that their usual farming practices do not work here. We offered to teach them our agrarian practices, but they refused, stating that their abilities to work the land had been tried and tested by their ancestors, and were perfectly effective. We gave up trying to explain to them that the land needed rest, and that growing different crop varieties also helped the land. They just would not listen.

‘Finally, the situation got so bad during the last century, with their land becoming completely infertile, that they migrated to our settlements so as to be near food sources. Although we welcomed this, as we did not wish to see them suffering, this was the start of the whole problem, since the ways in which they and we live are completely different. One of the biggest problems has been that, now they live near us, they receive non-biodegradable waste into their houses, and they do not neutralise it, but rather simply discard it – as they would their usual biodegradable waste. You may see no problem with this, but you can understand where we come from. The result of this behaviour is that their homes are often surrounded by an accumulation of waste that does nothing but breed germs and viruses. We know, because our scientists have analysed it.

‘But that’s all background to our present problems. You see, during the last 50 or so years, the population of the Rigellians has grown. We never excluded them from the management of the planet, but for the most part they didn’t take any interest in it, until now. Suddenly, about 10 years ago, one of their leaders decided to run for Ruler, and he won the election simply because they outnumber us.

‘Now, every settlement on the planet is run by a Rigellian – or a Denebian sympathetic to the Rigellians. You heard our leader earlier, telling us to disperse. This would all be fine, except for several disturbing rumours that have reached our ears. Some of these rumours are groundless – but many ring too true for us to discount them.

‘One of these rumours, and the most worrying one at that, is that the Rigellians still want this planet to themselves. We have found out that they are willing to exterminate us, if they cannot incorporate us or drive us off. As part of this aim, and this you have seen evidence of, they are changing all the town names to eradicate all memory of us. What we are afraid of is that they will try to continue to misuse the products of our lifestyle – the non-biodegradable waste – as well as their destructive agrarian practices, and will completely destroy this planet in the process. We love it to much for that.

‘But I talk too much! Let’s go inside for some of my wife’s wonderful cooking!’

And so concluding, the Stranger and Alsyn-Marks stood up and went indoors.