Bewildering Stories

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The Bridge

alternate conclusion

by euhal allen

“When you sing, your heart speaks to them. When you cry, they cry with you. There is a chance that we will succeed. You, Katia, are that chance.”

It had been a long twenty-five years. The national governments, not prone to be truthful and long used to creating propaganda against an enemy, had told one big lie after another. Hitler had been right after all: if the lies were big enough, the people would believe them.

Now the day was coming where the Bridge would have to prove its worth or become a memory receding into Man’s ever-lengthening past.

Katia knew that they had lost. There were no where near enough Dreamers to compile even a tenth of the Earth’s population, let alone a fourth. Now she mourned those lost in the vain struggle. Now, even more, she missed Alexis’ gentle touch and kind words; as she had missed them every day since his death. Now she worried about those still loyal to the Dream. Their names and faces were known. All of us would be arrested and, after a great show trial, would be executed as traitors to man.

Someday, if man survived that long, they would be thought of as martyrs. But then it would be too late. Only Bridged societies would be allowed into the Galactic Council’s civilization. It had to be that way. The Galaxy was too big and dangerous to allow violent peoples access to its far reaches. So man would be contained and would never know the thrill of visiting the stars.

Even now the Galactic Council was creating the announcement that would be read over the Bridge’s communication network; the announcement that would confirm that the nations had won.


“Yes, Cyr, I know it is almost time. I am ready. It was a good fight anyway, wasn’t it, Cyr?”

“Yes, Katia, it was a good fight. Now it is over and we will not have to fight any more. At least there is that,” answered Cyr. “I am receiving the final announcement now and the Galactic Council has requested that you be the one to read it.”

“Why me, Cyr?”

“Katia, you have been the Dream Singer. You have been the hope giver. You have led your people well. They honor you in asking you to give their final communication to those who have opposed us for so long.”

“Well, I suppose it will look good at my trial, after you are gone. I will miss you, Cyr. You have been a good friend.”

“The Studio is ready, the National Governments have been notified that you are going to give your concession speech, and the microphone is on, Katia.

You speak in five minutes. The announcement printout is on your desk. Be brave as you have always been brave.”

Katia went in and sat down at her communication desk; the desk that, over the years, she had so many times sat at while she made announcements to her people. The formal Announcement of the Galactic Council was there for her to read. She was not going to read it until it was time to read it to the whole earth. She was afraid she would weep and would not represent her people well if she read it to herself first.

The “On The Air” light flashed on and Katia, smiling brightly, picked up the papers and began to read:

To the peoples of the Earth from the Governing Circle of the Galactic Council, an Announcement:

For the past fifty years you have known the presence of our representative in the form of an intelligent Bridge that was designed to help you become a truly civilized society, one that, in time, could join us in peacefully sharing the bounties of our galaxy. Sadly for us, you have rejected our help and our vision of your future place in our great galactic society. We, then, in recognition of that rejection, must leave you to your own ways and your own vision of the future.

To those of you on the Earth who shared our dream we apologize that you have suffered so. Your striving to reach out to the Galactic Council, your acceptance of our help under great opposition and hatred has been both a brave and a thrilling example to the peoples that make up the Galactic Council. We salute you.

It is the decision of the Galactic Council, in line with the announcement made a little over twenty-five of your years ago, that if it was the choice of more than three-quarters of Earth’s population to refuse our outstretched hand, we would withdraw that hand. In actuality, more than nine-tenths of Earth’s peoples have made such a decision.

For that reason, even now, the Bridge, and all its components are being removed from the earth. We have another world picked that we feel will accept this Bridge’s help, and it will be transported there at once. The Earth will be returned to the exact physical state it was before the Bridge first appeared to you fifty years ago.

* * *

All over the earth the Bridge was suddenly no longer there. The tunnels, roads and spans, the control towers and great pillars in the seas were all gone.

All over the earth the people went wild with celebration at their great victory over the hated enemy.

All over the earth police units went out in search of those who had supported the Bridge, arrest warrants in their hands. They were not found. Somehow they seemed to have hidden in society in ways that would take years to ferret them out.

Soon, though, those traitors were forgotten in the new crisis that sprung up everywhere, and the nations, no longer having a common enemy fight, sought new ones. Wars and strife, the seeming nature of man, broke out once more as man sought to resurrect his old ways and hatreds.

* * *

Katia sat on her porch and looked at the sunset. It was different from earth’s sunsets, since this sun was a little brighter than Sol, but it was still beautiful.

“Katia,” came Cyr’s ever welcome voice, “are you ready?”

“Yes, Cyr, old friend, I am ready. I am not sure that I am worthy, but I am ready.”

“To be Humankind’s first representative on the Galactic Council is a great honor, and, if I might say, one that you have earned. Alexis would be proud, Katia.”

“You know, Cyr, I think you are right; Alexis would be proud.”

Copyright © 2004 by euhal allen

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