A single tear

   "You mean we're just going to leave it there?" said the xenobiologist.

   "Unless you have some extra fuel you've been keeping to yourself, we can't afford to take garbage back with us to Earth. Propulsion doesn't come cheap," the commander replied, at least half of her attention simultaneously devoted to something else.

   "But the ecosystem—"

   "What ecosystem? Rocks and dust? Listen, if it makes you feel any better, someday they'll have the technology to take care of the trash. It's the future's problem."


On a dusty, cratered moon, a large-eyed grey alien looks at a pile of human garbage and a planted flag. A single tear escapes one of the alien's eyes.

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