Short Story 2: The Aliens and I


When your day starts with you being eaten by a 100-foot long worm with tens of mouths running along its body, you'd think it'd be safe to assume your day can only get better. If you're me, you'd be wrong.

The Aliens and I

Wait a minute, you're saying you got swallowed by a giant worm?” asks the reporter.

Yes. Not just me, a lot of people did. Keep up with the story,” I tell him.

Maybe you better start your story from the start again.”

I sigh. This is my lot in life. I save our entire planet and they send a reporter who's my intellectual inferior. And I'm only 11.

Okay,” I say slowly as if to a dim-witted newborn. “It all began on a normal day not unlike today...”

And it did. Please understand, I used to live a boring, uninteresting life no different to your own. I was always telling everyone I was meant for great things, but they ignored me. One suspects they were intimidated by my brilliance. Then I met the aliens.

The day that I met them was the very same day the town organised a game in my honour. That's another great thing about me – I'm popular as well as super smart. Due to my high-level reasoning skills I have an unfair advantage at games of hide and seek. It was for this reason that the town arranged for me to be taken miles and miles out into the middle of nowhere and left behind in the desert while they all hid.

I was preparing myself for the arduous 100-kilometre trek back when I saw the spaceship. It was a pretty inelegant design of a vessel if I do say so myself. Crude but effective, I guess. The aliens for their part seemed surprised to see me. They walked upright and were tall in size. They had two heads. An outer head that was transparent and revealed a secondary head inside. Their eyes also weren't how we normally picture aliens' eyes – rather they were very small.

Take me to your leader,” one of the aliens said to me in strange voice. At least that's what I assume he said. He was speaking in some weird alien language so it all sounded like gobbledygook to me. I tried explaining to the creature that politics on our world is probably far more complicated than on their world and therefore we don't have one set representative – and that if we did, I would probably be smarter than them anyway. And that was how I found myself to be on an alien spaceship flying through the solar systems.

It wasn't a comfortable flight, let me tell you that much. They kept me in a glass cage like I was some lowly animal. I was silently composing a formal letter of complaint when the door opened and in walked Nara. She was smaller than the other aliens, and later I would learn that was because, like me, she was pre-maturation. She walked into the room nervously, making sure we were alone before approaching my cell.

In her hand was a strange rectangular device with a square screen that showed a picture of a tree. She pointed at the picture, then held it up to me.

“Yes, it's a nice tree. You must be very proud,” I told her, while thinking it's a marvel these creatures ever discovered space travel. The picture then changed to a picture of a star.

“And a star. How cute,” I said. And so it went for about 5 minutes – the picture changing constantly. Then the device beeped and a smile lit up on Nara's face.

Language translator configuration complete,” came a voice from the device. That's when I deduced that the device she held was some sort of language translator that had just completed its configuration! Nara said some strange words into the device and the voice from the translator said, “What is your name?” I gave it a fake name. (One can never be too safe when dealing with alien life forms.) Then Nara began a tale that filled me with dread.

You're in danger. Your whole world is in danger. Ours isn't always a peaceful species. We travel from world to world, making planets inhabitable for our kind, often wiping out the planet's entire ecosystem in the process.”

You're saying, your people are going to change my world's climate, killing us in the process?”

Maybe. We'd need to decrease the heat on your planet to make it livable. It's possible you could survive the change, but even then you wouldn't last long. ”

Why not?”

Nara looked down, as if ashamed to meet my (larger and seemingly superior) eyes.

Please understand, not everyone of my kind is evil. There are laws to prevent this kind of thing. If people knew what really happened when planets were terraformed, there'd be outrage. Regulations state that if we find intelligent life on a planet, then the planet must be left untouched. However, that'd cut into the terraforming companies budgets, so instead they hide any existence and go about changing the planet's environment. Any species unfortunate enough to survive the change is then exterminated, occasionally even eaten if tasty, because the corporations can't risk leaving behind any evidence.”

That's horrible, but a sound business plan. How can we stop it from happening to my world?”

We need to get you to the High Council. We need to prove to them that your planet has intelligent life.”

Good thing you picked me.”

Well, that's another thing. It was the Captain that picked you. You see, he likes to eat something from every planet he terraforms.”

I'm dinner?”

You will be, if we don't get you out of here fast.”

And who are you?”

I'm Nara, the chef's daughter. I'm supposed to be running tests on you to make sure you're not poisonous.”

As if. Just look at me: I'd be delicious.”

The rest of the flight was even less comfortable than being in the glass cage. (I was forced to hide in an out-of-order toilet.) Meanwhile Nara and her father made a vegetarian mish-mash of a meal and told the captain it was me. He was apparently less than impressed with the meal, as he spent the rest of the flight groaning on the toilet. I know this as it was unfortunately the one next to where I was hiding.

Didn't you say something about a giant worm?” interrupts the reporter.

Yes, yes. I'm getting to that. Grow a patience.”

After hours of horrible new smells, we finally landed on the aliens' home world. Everything about it was loud and bright and noisey. The sky was filled with pollution that was filled with even more pollution, making it hard to breathe. After sneaking me off the ship Nara took me to her parents' home. I was surprised to observe that once on their home planet, the aliens all removed their outer heads, leaving only their secondary head. It made me realise just how faraway from home I was.

Don't cry,” said Nara. Not that I was crying. It must've have been her small alien eyes playing tricks on her.

I'm scared Nara,” was something I certainly did not say.

Don't worry. We'll get you home. Everything will be ok. Tomorrow, we'll visit the High Council and expose them all. Just you wait and see.”

Tomorrow started early. Nara woke me before their sun had risen and I almost cried out in shock. Her appearance was completely different. Where once she had been a grey alien, now she was red. My reaction caused her great amusement as she explained how her species is able to shed their outer skins to suit different purposes. A form of camouflage. After I recovered from the shock she cooked me some breakfast. I'm guessing the chef gene isn't hereditary as it was barely edible.

We need to find someway to keep you out of sight while we make our way through the city.” And this is where my story gets a little gross.

I'm sorry, but this is the only way we can avoid attention,” said Nara as she covered me in her disused outer skin.

After vomiting several times (possibly more from the breakfast than the dead skin) I was ready to head to the High Court. By foot we travelled the chaotic streets of Nara's world. One or two people seemed to stop and stare at me, but then I'd just angrily glare at them and they'd quickly look away. It was a cold, strange world and in the end I was thankful for the extra warmth provided by the Nara's skin. I wanted to ask how much further we had to travel but Nara had accidentally left her translation device at home.

Eventually we left the streets and headed down into a dark underground cave. Inside there were around a hundred or more people. I was about to ask if this was the High Council when a loud roar pierced the air and I felt a rush of cool air blast at me. Everyone looked around as suddenly a giant 100-yard worm rushed towards us. I tried to run from it but the aliens all stampeded in their efforts to escape. Unfortunately they're a simple species with small eyes and they all stampeded in the wrong direction. Nara got caught up in it and was dragged along by the crowd, right into one of the worm's mouths! I must've gone temporary insane at that moment as my survival instinct went on holiday and I went diving into the mouth after her. Unfortunately no sooner had I reached her, than the worm's mouths shut. So here I was: I'd travelled the solar systems only to end up dying inside a giant invertebrate.

Inside the worm's stomach, the stench was almost unbearable. It smelt like something was rotting; several somethings perhaps. The aliens for their part all seemed happy to wait around to be digested slowly. Not me. I started banging at its mouth. Again and again. Harder and harder. I knew there must be some way out. Then at last, our luck changed.

The worm raced through tunnels and then broke up through the surface into the daylight. There it came across another group of aliens. It swung around to attack. All its mouths wide open, ready to feast. At just the right moment, Nara and I jumped out and escaped away from it's hunting ground as fast as possible.

Then in the distance I saw it. Sitting high on top of a hill, a building massive in size and surrounded by giant statues. I knew exactly what it must be: The High Council. My ticket home. But then a shadow towered over me.

Hello dinner,” said the Captain.

The Captain grabbed Nara by the shoulder. “I saw a doctor the other day. Seems my stomach bug was a reaction to some food that wasn't meat. But I only ever eat meat. So it got me wondering and I decided to pay your house a visit.” At this point I started to inch away from him, but he suddenly punched me in the face and dragged me next to Nara. “Recognize this?” he said, holding up Nara's translater. “It a T2X model. Do you know my favourite feature of the T2X? The reply mode.” And with that he hit a button and the device started to replay all of Nara and my conversations.

Now let's go somewhere private. I can almost taste your fear and it's making me hungry,” said the Captain, licking his lips. Nara stood her ground; the Captain gripped my neck tightly. “Come with me now or I snap its neck right here.”

A smirk appeared on Nara's face. “You know my favourite feature of the T2X. The security function. Taser activate!” An electric spark came flying out of the device, sending the Captain to the ground in agony.

Actually, I really prefer its music function, but the taser's a close second. He'll be out of it for at least 10 minutes. Quick, let's get moving.”

Feeling frosty but hopeful, we climbed up the massive steps and headed into the High Council Chamber. The chamber itself was designed like a theatre. Five judges sat in a raised section at the front, while at ground level there were two tables and a gated area with seats for the general public. It was in these seats that Nara and I sat. And sat. And sat. And sat. And then it happened.

For the next parts I only know what was spoken because Nara told me afterwards.

So if there are no objections, the High Council shall approve the colonisation of Planet XX214/7C,” said one of the High Council members who looked like he grew up on a planet made of cake. Suddenly, Nara stood up.

I object, your honours.” There was a murmur around the chamber as people whispered to each other.

On what grounds?”

On the grounds that planet XX214/7C contains intelligent life.”

The murmur got louder.

Your honours, this is ridiculous. All reports back from that planet have stated the opposite to be true. Are we supposed to believe some girl over the word of an entire captain and crew?” asked a man sitting at one of the ground level tables. Nara later told me he was a representative of the terraforming company.

Well young lady, you better have a good explanation for all this commotion,” said the very jiggly councilman.

At this point Nara removed her disused skin from me and shoved me into the tabled area. The crowd gasped.

This creature is from that very planet. If you'll just allow me to turn on my language translator you will see it is an intelligent life form.”

Objection your honours! Language translator's are inadmissible – they're too easily tampered with.”

Sustained,” ruled one of the non-jiggly council members. “So unless this creature can show some sign of intelligence, I'm afraid we must approve colonisation.”

That was when all eyes turned to me. Of course, I had no idea what was going on. Without the translator, everything just sounded like gobbledygook to me. Instead I was standing there being as quiet as possible so as to not cause problems for Nara.

Well, we're waiting creature,” growled the terraforming representative. And still I stood silent, getting quite bored with all these words I didn't know.

In that case, this council has got no alternative than to approve the colonisation of...”

At this point I was so bored I let out a yawn.

Aww, isn't that cute. He yawned!” said the jiggly councilman and he laughed and jiggled some more.

Why that's adorable! He thinks he's overworked like one of us,” said the non-jiggly councilwoman.

We can't colonise his planet, he's just too damn cute! Make him yawn again little girl,” said a council member who was neither jiggly nor non-jiggly.

And so it came to be that I saved our planet from the aliens. When Nara told me what had happened I was naturally furious. “How dare they save my planet based on my cuteness. What about my superior intelligence? I demand we appeal their finding!” Nara just laughed and gave me a big hug and I found myself not caring about the idiot council members anymore.

That night we had a big party at Nara's house. Everyone was invited, except the Captain, who had a prior engagement, serving time in prison. At the end of the night, Nara and I climbed up onto the roof together to look at the stars.

So my parents will take you to the ship first thing tomorrow morning and you'll be home before next nightfall."

It'll be good to be home.”

Which planet up there do you think is yours?”

I imagine it's that one,” I said pointing up at the brightest star I could find. We were silent then for a minute before Nara looked across at me.

I hope you have a long and happy life. I'll never forget you,” she said as a couple of tears fell from her small eyes. “You're very special.”

I know,” I replied and then we laughed.

So that's my story. When are you going to publish it in the paper? The sooner the better. Perhaps you should also arrange for statues to be built and songs written about me?” I told the reporter.

Not going to happen.”

What!? But that's outrageous. Why not?”

Look kid, no one believes you; I don't even believe you. You've had delusions of grandeur since you were three. Why do you think I'm the only one that came out here? I'm doing an article on your neurosis. You were left, lost in the desert, alone and without water for days. You must've hallucinated the whole thing.”

But... but...”

So that's how my story ends. With the reporter packing up all his stuff, walking away; his last words ringing in my ears.

Just accept it kid. I mean, aliens that walk upright - it makes no evolutionary sense! It would leave their genitals and heart exposed, vulnerable to attack. Nope, these aliens, or 'Earthlings' as you like to call them, they're just a bad fairytale.”

5 Response to Short Story 2: The Aliens and I

  1. Luke says:

    Okay, for those confused and those who didn't suspect the aliens were humans – the giant worm was a train (the cave was a subway), the shedding of skin is clothes, the two heads were because he was counting their astronaut helmets as a transparent head. (Also, I picture the translator as an application on Nara's iPhone type device.)

    Not sure this story doesn't suck. When I was writing it, it felt like a train wreck – only a very boring train wreck. It came about as a combination of two ideas. 1. I'd always wanted to do a story with Aliens where it's humans who are the bad guys. (After all, look at how Native American and Aborigines were treated by settlers and it's not hard to picture humans as being this evil. Especially when you add in corporations.) 2. I'd also thought about doing a story from an alien's perspective about things that we don't think are weird but could be seen differently - like trains etc. So instead of writing two stories, I got lazy and combined them.

    For some reason, it proved very difficult to write. Possibly because I didn't plan it - I just wrote from paragraph to paragraph. (Also, it might've worked better as seperate stories.) I think I could make it better if I did a second draft – but like I said, it was boring to write so...

    Still, it wasn't a total waste – it gave me an idea for a new story. (One that I intend to plan out!) Now I just need to hope it's fun to write!

  2. Luke! says:

    When I read stories like these Luke, I just have to wonder what goes on in that head of yours.

    But... despite the insane mind you must possess, I do admire the originality and ingenuity!

  3. Luke says:

    Haha, thanks Luke! (I think!) ;)

  4. Dale says:

    He called you insane!! Some of the most brilliant writers have become/were clinically insane - so of course it's a compliment! :P

    I did enjoy this story, and I did guess that the aliens were humans, but I wasn't sure what the main character was (animal/third world child/other).

    It was amusing and light with a touch of potical commentary... somehow. :) so don't kick yourself about it unnecessarily.

    Saw the Keanu Reeves "The Day The Earth Stood Still" the other night and the terraforming part of this reminded me of it. Won't tell you any more about the movie in case you still want to see it. But yeah... I think I'll just trail off leaving you with an ominous sense of it sucking... :P


  5. Dale says: