“Welcome aboard the starship XZzbrt. Its purpose is to investigate unusual new worlds, to search for new life forms and new civilizations, to fearlessly traverse where nobody has yet done so.” Captain Ghpstage crumbled the pamphlet. “All lies” he thought to himself as he waited for the crew to finish their scans and tell him what he already knew. The small blue-green planet showed numerous signs of life. He struggled to feign surprise, as the crew cheered. He ordered the ship in closer for more detailed scans but he already knew that those scans would reveal not only intelligent life but complex civilizations as well. Contact with the human species may be new to his crew but the grizzled captain was certain that eventually everyone would learn that politics at least was the same everywhere. That is why he kept coming back. No matter how many horrible tragedies he must put his crew through, no matter how disastrous his interventions were for the human race, and his own, he felt certain that one of these days he was bound to get it right. Like the rest of his crew Captain Ghpstage was a Centaurian, as intelligent beings from Alpha Centauri have taken to calling themselves, beyond that Centaurians have agreed on little else. What is left of their civilization can be classified into two broad factions, the MNghts and the PHskts. The MNghts are not exactly peaceful but at least they are not bloodthirsty ruffians like the PHskts. Several centuries from now the PHskts conquered Alpha Centauri and subjugated the MNghts. But just before the PHskts’ final victory the MNghts would develop an incredible new technology, one that would deprive the word ‘new’ of meaning from then on. The device was a time machine. The MNghts quickly sent a mission back in time to change the course of their planets history and ensure the MNghts mastery over their home planet and all its indigenous civilizations. The PHskts though, as already mentioned, were ruthless villains and would not only thwart the plan but capture the invaluable device as well. From that day on time has lost all meaning for the unfortunate Centaurians as the warring factions launched assaults forward and back through time to preempt the future and revise the past. Now what few history books there are have to be published in three ring binders to accommodate frequent correction, cause and effect are no longer related and consequence and responsibility have become passé. Captain Ghpstage would spend the rest of his career trying to correct all that unless he can finally succeed now. For the sake of his people this latest ‘first’ contact must succeed, otherwise…he’d have try again previously and go through the awful charade of pretending to be surprised about discovering intelligent life and all that. He reflected on Earth’s future development. How the Cossacks vanquished all before them and built a civilization to stand the test of time. But this time Captain Ghbstage would nurture them into a great space faring civilization and lead them to Alpha Centauri. He was certain that the arrival of violent invaders would convince the Centaurians to overcome their disagreements and unite to destroy the Human race. It was worth a shot anyway, he figured as he navigated his ship toward the coordinates he would record some years from now. With total disregard for consequence and deliberate disdain for the butterfly affect he broadcast his arrival with a sonic boom as his ship roared out of the clouds over Babylograd buzzed the royal palace and began strafing the invading Germans.