Image via WikipediaJohn jumped down from the tree, landed on his spaceship, and flew toward the fortress.
"The aliens are coming!" he yelled. Other space pilots leaped into their spaceships and flew off toward the moon where the aliens were coming from.
They were crazy. John wanted to run AWAY from the aliens, not run TO them. He would be called a craven, a coward, but that was a risk he was willing to take. He would be safe at the fortress, wouldn't he? It was impregnable. His job had been to keep a look out for alien ships and he had done it. There was no shame in going home.
"Hippy, dappy, doopy," a strange voice said behind him. It didn't sound like anyone he knew, so he turned around slowly . . .
"Ow!" he screamed before he could help himself. Covering his eyes, he waited for the brilliant light that had just pierced them like fire to die away.
"Relax," a familiar voice said, and the light disappeared. It was only Fie and some of the other guys. In his gloved hand, Fie held a neon-radiation flashlight.
"Why . . . on earth . . . would you ever shine that in my eyes?" He yelled.
"Shhhh," said another astronaut. "None of us are thinking too clearly right now. There was an awed darkness in his voice that was indecipherable.
"Happy, sad, mama," said the strange voice.
The group parted to reveal Sasha, her long, dark hair rimming a moon-pale face, holding a tiny creature which could only be . . . AN ALIEN.
Sgt. Rose's voice was stern behind her. "When were you planning on telling us about this?"
John's heart dropped into his shoes. Sasha was the youngest space woman ever to be allowed on this trip. This would surely have her deported, back to earth again.
"We found him on Jupiter," said Sasha. "But we couldn't just leave him there. After all, he's only a youngling. Please Sgt. Rosewood. Have pity on him."
Sgt. Rosewood stared at the alien, as if to determine which way of killing it would be the most enjoyable.
"Sgt. Rosewood, please don't punish Sasha for the alien," begged Fie. "She was only trying to help because it's so young.
"I'm sorry soldier, but you kno the rules: all aliens found inside the asteroid belt are to be eliminated," stated Rosewood.
Fie looked at John and said: "John, please."
John was still stunned that there were all of these officers in his spaceship when he had counted on being alone.
"We were told that the aliens mean us harm," he said slowly, looking at Sasha. "But maybe they were wrong." Fie grinned at him while Rosewood scowled.
"We were given orders. We have to follow orders!"
"We can't kill a baby, sir," John said gently. "The baby mens us no harm. We wouldn't want the aliens to kill one of our babies, would we?"
"Happy, happy," the creature said in Sasha's arms.
"Well, what are we going to do with it then?" Fie asked.
"The baby will be our hostage," Rosewood said. "Maybe we can negotiate with these beings."
John stepped forward, his heart pounding. "Why does everything have to be war with you?" he asked, voice verging on yelling. "Why can't there ever be peace?"
"That's moving," Rosewood said coolly.
"Hippie," another sergeant said, arms crossed.
"Starberg, I expected more of you," Rosewood said. "I expected you to be more mature than these . . . children."
The words stung. John had been chosen for the mission because they trusted him. Now he needed to re-earn that trust.
But another glance at Sasha's tearful face made wars break out in his chest.
During this time, the alien-baby had fallen asleep. Sasha set it down on one of the nearby cots. John shoved his hands inside his pockets and then out again. The silence was palpable.
Finally, Rosewood said, "We'll quarantine the alien. Now officers. See how the rest of our troops are doing."
John couldn't just let this happen. he was lying on his cot when he had an idea. It was dangerous, but he knew it was the right thing to do, even if it did get him kicked out of the Space Fleet. John got up, grabbing a bag with some food and water, a laser rifle, and ran into the area where the baby alien was being held. Two of Rosewood's goons blocked the door.
"I have orders from Rosewood to determine the condition of the alien youngling," John said. The guards parted to let him in. John snatched the baby and darted out of the room. He exited the spaceship with guards yelling at him, and sped away into the night, alien in hand.
To be continued . . .
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