“Our country wants YOU! Use your game skills to get ahead. See a recruiter now!” The man in the picture was pointing his finger directly at William. William turned and entered the brightly lit office.
“Welcome, son!” a uniformed man boomed. “I’ve got several openings. What kind of games are you proficient in? And at what levels? It seems most of the new recruits think they’re good but when it comes right down to it, they’re afraid to kill. Now, what about you, son? Do you think you could kill a few intruders? Remember, if they were bold enough to come to Earth and establish a base in section eight, then it won’t be long before they try to get us all.”
William smiled. In his video games he had been blasting aliens, torturing enemies, destroying cities, and attacking women and children as far back as he could remember. Seeing blood splattered or bodies fragmented only added to the excitement. “I can handle any assignment,” he said proudly. “What do I need to do to convince you?”
The recruiter escorted him into a noisy room filled with other young men and women. They were focused, trying to eliminate green skinned aliens before they, themselves, were eliminated. William joined in, proceeding from one level to the next. One by one the other recruits dropped out, their skills not proficient enough to keep them in the game. Though they weren’t allowed to fight on, they stood and watched with interest until only William and one girl, Roxanne, remained. William and Roxanne continued to advance, ruthlessly destroying city after city. As William and Roxanne began the last level their audience began chanting, “Kill! Kill! Kill them all!”
The recruiter bellowed, “That’s enough! I want everyone out! William and Roxanne, you will stay. Both of you have proven your skills. You’ll be shipping out at 0500. I’ve received word that there is troop movement in section eight. We are sending our best to monitor and destroy any hostiles. Any questions? “
William and Roxanne shook their heads. “No, Sir!” they chorused.
At 0800 both were already watching aliens and checking game controls. Roxanne said quietly, “These controls are just a heavy duty version of the ones at the recruitment center. This will be easy. We’ll be able to blast them off the planet.”
For a few minutes the aliens simply moved closer together. Then slowly they began expanding outward across the flat desert in a large perfect circle.
William watched, waiting for orders to begin firing. He reported what he saw as the aliens advanced. The large rifles they carried looked deadly but they could not compare to the firepower at William’s command. The circle continued to grow.
“Fire a warning shot!” an officer barked.
Roxanne and William fired at the same time. The ground shook next to the advancing aliens but they continued to step forward. Several aliens raised their guns and fired.
“Shoot to kill!” the officer shouted.
William and Roxanne selected targets and fired. Both were shocked when the aliens did not fall. Alien rifles were firing again. This time William zeroed in to see the targets of alien rifles. Instead of carnage and dying victims, flowers bloomed. The aliens fired round after round and flowers sprouted in the dry desert sand.
“Kill! Kill!” The officer screamed hysterically.
As the gamers blasted away with deadly accuracy Roxanne and William noticed a strange thing. Instead of aliens being destroyed, there were more. At first it was puzzling but then William remembered a fact from a science class. Like fishermen had discovered when they tried to kill starfish by cutting them into small pieces, each piece of alien that had been blown apart grew into a new body.
Although the officer continued to scream orders to kill, William and Roxanne quit firing. They could not destroy the intruders with violence because violence fed into the aliens’ energy. As efficient as William and Roxanne were with their weapons, the numbers of the aliens would have increased drastically.
Alien rifles continued to fire. Flowers were flying everywhere, growing where they landed. In addition, as aliens came close they handed flowers to humans. If flowers were rejected, fighting ensued. If accepted, there was peace.
After seeing the results of violence, William decided he would try peace and love. If he was brave enough to embrace an alien, an alien might disappear. At first Roxanne thought William was insane to hug an alien. As violence increased and consequently as the numbers of aliens grew she realized the aliens would take over the world and crowd humans out. Soon she began to see promise in William’s theory.
William and Roxanne began hugging aliens. At first nothing happened. Then one of the aliens began shaking and soon disappeared completely. With difficulty they tried convincing others that the way of peace and flowers was best. Some humans insisted humans must be destroyed by killing each and every one. Those who saw the value of peace countered the violence with extra love.
Peace and love were not acceptable to some. They reasoned, If you hug someone you can’t hate them. Consequently they will always be there, outside control.
If it hadn’t been for the flowers things would not have worked out. The war would have continued. As the flowers bloomed around the world, the blossoms changed the moods of many people. Peace, for the time being, would reign supreme. Humans learned that love conquers all, including violence, and flowers wake the senses and promote tranquility.
Aliens would eventually push outward again. This time humans might greet them with flowers and hugs. If so, humans on Earth still have a future. If aliens are greeted with violence, they might crowd humans into the sea. When will humans ever learn?