Visitors

This started out as a completely different idea, but it just kinda shaped itself in this manner.

As always, this is a work of fantasy and fiction.

I

Tom was a curious one. He was enchanted by outer space and loved the sense of mystery that it evoked in him.
“What’s out there?” Tom would wonder to himself.
“There’s probably things we haven’t even dreamed of. There’s probably aliens and other creatures! What if Predators and Aliens are actually real. Ohh damn haha, that would be scary.” Tom loved anything related to space and aliens, and he gladly filled his days up reading old sci-fi comics and watching sci-fi movies. Some of Tom’s favorite shows were Stargate, and The X Files.

The far reaches of space fascinated Tom. Space was a mystery waiting to unfold and there was no telling what kinds of different worlds existed and what kinds of different creatures roamed the cosmos. Tom imagined running through a worm hole portal, a Stargate, and teleporting millions of lightyears away to worlds and places that only the imagination, as of yet, could conceive. He even wondered of  the life on these faraway planets and imagined them being just as extraordinary and varied as the planets that housed them. 

Tom believed that life was extant in the universe, apart from the small pebble floating in space called Earth, there was no doubt. He believed it with a wholeheartedness that could have only sprouted from the naivety of youth. These sets of beliefs and hopes rummaged and ran in the boys mind day in and out, they came together to form one of Tom’s aspirations. You see, Tom dreamed to be an astronaut or a scientist in the future. He wanted to be at the forefront of space exploration, a pioneer in the frontier of space and a seeker for the universes best kept secrets.

Years prior Tom had bought a “I WANT TO BELIEVE” poster from his favorite show, the X Files. It was one of his prized possession’s that he kept hidden away from even his parents. He kept it folded up at the bottom of his sock drawer so that no one searching would be the wiser.

Once in a long while, or whenever Tom had a particularly horrible day, he’d wait in bed with ears peeled open until not a peep could be heard throughout the house. He waited to make sure his whole family was in bed, and only then would the boy quietly creep over to his drawer. He’d grab the poster and head back to bed as quiet as a mouse. Only in bed and underneath the covers would Tom take out the poster and shine his light on it. He’d stare, and will himself to become mesmerized and enchanted, and he became mesmerized and enchanted. The bold white letters “I WANT TO BELIEVE” never failed to grab the boys attention. He’d scan the poster a while longer, but the boy was careful and never looked at the poster for too long. Afterwards he’d carefully fold it back and creep back to the drawer and place the poster back in its secret spot, but sometimes the boy would tuck the poster safely below his pillow and fall fast asleep.

II

Tom woke up with bits of drool running down his mouth. The pungent odor of the bacon and eggs had seeped into his room. He wasn’t quite sure if he drooled because of sleep or because he was hungry. After putting his poster at the bottom of the drawer, he prepared for school then went to the dining room to greet his parents.

“Good morning.” He said in a half yawn to his parents. His older sister was still in bed. Middle school for her started 30 min later than his, and so she slept in for an extra couple of minutes. His father was already eating breakfast and his mother was making coffee when she noticed Tom.
“Good morning. You sleep well?” His mother said with a smile. A smile that was much to charming than normal.
“Ya” The boy replied suspiciously.

His mom always said good morning but she never asked if he slept well, and she was smiling like that too.
“She definitely knows something about the poster! No, no. I didn’t make a peep or sound and I only turned my lights on under the sheets. There’s no way.” the boy thought to himself.

“Eat up” the mother said pointing to his plate of food. The boys stomach growled and he started to dig in. He’d think about the poster topic later.

The mother watched her boy and husband eat their food. It was almost like she was scrutinizing the way the men ate, but really she got a sense of happiness seeing them eat. It gave her joy to see those 2 scarf their food down, and at times she secretly envied the men. They ate with such an animal like simplicity and cheer. She noticed their love of food and their joy in eating it, but also made the subtle conclusion that it was a vitality and a joy of life itself that the men exuded, and this is what gave her true jubilation. The men’s appetite helped fill her own.

The boy scarfed down his bacon, eggs and toast in record time, and was ready to go. His father finished his own food at almost the same time.
“You ready dad?”
“Ya, lets go.”
“Bye, thanks for the food.” The man said to the woman. He gave her a peck on the forehead, and started walking towards the door.
“Thanks mom” Tom said. The mother knelt slightly and the boy kissed her goodbye on the cheek.
“Bye now you two, have a good day.” The mother said as they left.

Both father and son entered the car. It was their routine and it was a time that both enjoyed. On most days the   men enjoyed the comfort of quiet with with the radio playing in the background. On other days when one of them had something to say, it was said. On that day the boy had an itch that kept pestering his thoughts and so he broke the silence.

“Dad, do you know if mom is psychic or telepathic or something, can she read minds?” The father looked at his son incredulously for a moment, for as ridiculous as it sounded he too thought the same thing at times. He broke the silence with a deep hearty laugh.
“Hahahah. You know, sometimes I think that she REALLY can read minds. Why do you ask?”
“I don’t know, it just feels like she sometimes knows things without ever seeing it or hearing it.”
“Hmmmmm. Ya I get it. Kinda like telepathy.” The father said as he gave his son a glance. He noticed the sparkle in the boy’s eye and his complete attention.
“You know… I think anyone can do it if they really pay attention to things.”
“REALLY, like tell what people are thinking?”

The father had only said this in the spur of the moment and because his son had put him on the spot. He saw a twinkle in the boys eyes and he dared not snuff it out. Life and time would take on that role but not now, and not by his own hand. He wanted to come up with an answer that the boy would like. The father took a moment to think, and then he started to talk.

“Yes. People sometimes call it your gut instinct. You know when you get that eerie, and cold piercing feeling against your back and then you look behind you and notice someone staring at you?”
The boy searched through every single scene and thing he’d seen and felt in his life in the span of moment. He wanted it to be true and he’d find something to make it true. He hit upon a recent memory.

“YAAA. It happened this month!” The boy stuttered and tripped over his words in his excitement. The father gave a wide smile at the boys remark.
“Ya. What happened?” the father asked.
“It was during recess and I was outside near the jungle gym with my friends. We were just talking and suddenly I felt something. I don’t know why I did it, but I looked around and I saw this girl looking right at me. She looked away when I saw her.”
“Ohhhhh, is that what happened.” The father was going to ask more about this new development but his son interrupted him.
“What else, what else is there?” The boy asked aloof and unconcerned.
“Well, did you know that animals can tell when earthquakes and tsunami’s will happen a whole day beforehand. There are stories of zoo animals going crazy inside their cages and nobody knows why. Then a couple of hours pass and BAM. An earthquake or a tsunami hits them.”
“WAAAAAAHHHH!!” This fascinated the boy to no end. How did the animals do it! How did they know! They couldn’t see the waves, and earthquakes just happen on the moment, right! They had to know something, they must have a sense of things that humans did not.

It was at right at this moment that they arrived at the school drop off zone, and the father felt a relief. If time had permitted he knew that he would have gotten blasted by a endless stream of questions from the boy.
“One more question before I go, just to make sure.”
“What is it?” The father asked.
“Did you hear anything last night?”
The father stiffened his face just a bit and his face gained the slightest tinge of red.
“No.” The father replied flatly.
“Did YOU hear anything?” The father asked back.
“No.” Replied Tom. He was happy and giddy that his parents didn’t hear him rustling with the poster that night.

III

Tom entered the school and went to class. It was another typical day with another typical lesson from the teacher and the boy nodded off counting the seconds until lunch and recess time. After hours of waiting it was finally recess time! Tom sprinted over to the jungle gym after he finished eating to meet up with his friends. Their names were Kayla and Eduardo. They all met 3 years prior in 2nd grade. They had all been placed in the same classroom and after some time of poking and prodding each other they had become good friends. The jungle gym is where they met each other during recess every day. The boy ran. He couldn’t wait to tell them about how animals could tell the future. Kayla and Ed were already there and deep in some kind of conversation.

“No! He doesn’t exist. I know it.” Ed exclaimed
“Ya he does! My mom and dad told me so.”
“That doesn’t mean its true though.” Ed replied. Kayla looked downcast. She was trying to come up with something to say but nothing came to mind. Kayla was the first to spot Tom through the corner of her eye, she felt a sense of relief as Tom approached the group.
“huff… huff… Hey you guys.”
“Hey, whats up Tom.” Said Ed and Kayla at the same time.
“What are you guys talking about?”
Both Kayla and Ed gave looks to each other. Ed started.
“Kayla here asked me if I believe in a higher power, she asked me if I believe in a God, and quite frankly I don’t think there is any God, or any higher power for that matter.”
“Hmmmm, well why not?” Tom asked.
“Because who can believe that some guy up in the sky created everything in the whole universe. Its dumb!”
“Well, how can you prove that he’s not out there for sure? You can say he doesn’t exist but you can never prove it.” Tom replied.
“We have the laws of the universe that we’ve discovered through years and years of trial and error and through research and science. These rules of the universe are laws and they determine the way in which things happen and interact. We know how most things came to be and how everything works. It isn’t magic or faith or some creatures whim that makes the world go round the sun, its a process, its the laws of the universe governing the motion of things seen and unseen, not a mysterious and secretive man wandering the emptiness of space. Remember how we learned about the big bang. That was how everything was created. The big bang made everything and not a God!”

“What if the universe didn’t get created in exactly that way? What if some higher power made the big bang? Also, were the scientists there when the big bang happened? No. Its still only a theory and a hypothesis that we’ve come up with. And remember when people thought that Earth was flat, they thought that because people didn’t know enough about the world yet. What if we’re still like that and what if we still don’t know anything about  anything and our situation here in the universe! What if all we really have right now are odd and incomplete guesses about the beginnings of our universe, and how it things really works? God is much like aliens in outer space, we’ve never seen one or heard from one, and chances might be that they simply don’t exist, but the chance is still there.” Tom said this last portion with a glint in his eye.

Tom himself didn’t care much about whether a god existed or not, the boy thought himself much to worldly for that. Tom thought himself as more inclined to the sciences and the reality of things as he learned about and experienced them, and if anyone had asked him if he was spiritual he would have replied “not in the least!”

Ed got flustered at Tom’s response, and retorted “What if a god didn’t make the big bang though? You’re telling me that SOMETHING out there single handedly had the power to create everything we see, experience, and everything that ever was, and that he did so on a whim. Look at the expanse of the universe and the immensity of it! This is not the work of some higher power, its the universe and its laws at work that created everything you see. I simply choose to believe that there is no God!”
“Hahaha, well then! ” Tom said
At this point Kayla chimed in again. She had a question she wanted to ask and was wondering what the 2 would say, but more particularly Ed.

“Ok you guys, hypothetically speaking, not in real life, just pretend. What if god really existed and when you died you went up to heaven, what would you do?” She looked at Tom and Tom looked back. Then they looked to Ed as if the question were directed only to him. Tom knew why Kayla had asked the question.

IV

Lets go back in our story and learn why Kayla had asked what she had asked. Ed’s dog Mitzi, had died 3 weeks back. It had escaped from the backyard while everyone was away during the day. When the family took notice in the afternoon they all  went out to search for the missing mutt, but nothing came up that night. Ed had it in his heart to go search the following day, it was Ed’s dog after all and he coddled and loved her to pieces, he would find her if it was the last thing he did, but his father and mother had stopped him from going out. It was unexpected and Ed couldn’t understand. A couple days later a rumor spread throughout the school that Ed caught wind of. Apparently a boy walking home, noticed a man and woman picking up the remains of a dead dog off the street. The boy said he wanted to look away but he couldn’t help but look. Then in bad taste he proceeded to share and talk about what he saw in explicit and gruesome detail to whomever was willing to hear, and so the rumor had quickly spread about.

Ed had heard about this and went out and sought out the origin of the rumor, he wanted to hear it straight from the horses mouth. Ed found the boy and met him in a corner of school during recess. It didn’t take long to convince the boy to retell his story in the same level of detail as before, he was more than obliging to do so. Ed listened with a face made of stone as the boy retold how the intestines of the animal were lying out on the street, on how its front legs and head were crushed and bloodied, and how an eyeball had popped out a couple meters away from the body. Ed kept listening, two of the details perked his ears. The first was that the dog was medium sized and that it looked to have a curly hair, probably a tan brown color the boy said, but he wasn’t too sure because the fur was soaked in blood. The other was that the vehicle the people were driving was a white truck. All the details matched up. Ed had received a tan poodle mutt 6 months prior, and his father drove a white truck.

After hearing these two details, Ed knew the truth. In a fit of anger he then punched the boy in the stomach. It didn’t hurt the boy much, but he held his stomach with both hands as if in pain. “Don’t ever tell this story to anyone else.” Ed told the boy with a shaky voice. Ed had held in for far to long and his eyes had started to puff up and turn red, and a tear could be seen rolling down his cheek. The boy was shaken at the sudden change in Ed’s mood and of the sudden transition, he also heard the shakiness in Ed’s voice and realized what must have happened. “Ya! Ok ok” The boy said, as he clutched his stomach. Ed walked away afterwards without another word.

Out of a short lived shame and respect for Ed the boy promised himself right there and then to never tell another soul about the dead dog again. But that night the boy tossed and turned in bed, he mulled over his thoughts and at him having been punched by Ed. The boys thoughts were cold, they poked and pricked at his conscious, and it continued until the boy lost all sense of comfort under the warmth and familiarity of his own bed. But something was a-creeping and inching its way out into the known, it slowly bubbled its way up into the boys consciousness. It was warm and soothing and it gently laid its hands on the boys heart.

The boy beamed at the sudden epiphany. He had been wronged by Ed! The sudden realization of it lifted the cold weight that had been heft upon him by Ed.  He embraced the feeling of the injustice done upon him and deeply relished in it, “What did I ever do wrong to Ed! All I did was tell a story! In no way did I do wrong to Ed, but he did to me! AHHHH” The thought of it all was like the rays of warm summer sunshine, it warmed him, it gave him solace and gave him strength. The boy then felt an urge boil up. For you see, man has an innate sense of justice! And a man is keen when injustice is brought upon him under any circumstance, it will only bite and prick at the soul until the wrong is righted. The boy was wronged by Ed, and now the only way to move forward was for the wrong to be righted!

The next day the boy woke up bright and early, and his parents saw a glow and an energy emanating from the boy that they’ve not seen in many months past. “Something good must have happened!” they said as he left for school. The boy was full of energy and purpose, he was now complete with a mission and goal. Directly to the teachers lounge he went and sought out his teacher. He told her of nothing but the truth! But perhaps left a couple things out! At once Ed was brought in for questioning.

“Ed is it true? Did you hurt this boy” the teacher asked pointing over to the boy. Ed narrowed his eyes and his gaze fell upon the boy cowering behind the teacher. The boy lowered his gaze as Ed looked upon him.
“Yes I did.” Ed said without skipping a beat.
“And why did you do it?” The teacher asked.
Ed took a few moments of solemn thought. The thought of bringing up his puppy Mitzi had not even crossed Ed’s mind. Perhaps he could have gotten out of the situation safely if he explained the circumstances of why he’d hit the boy, but to use his poor pup for that reason was something Ed was not willing or even capable of doing. What he said was the truth as well, he HAD hit the boy, and at the moment it happened he very much wanted to hit the boy. To Ed it was the most natural thing in the world, and frankly if it was wrong and a misdeed on his part then he’d gladly be punished for doing so. Ed thought he’d done no wrong, not to the boy, or even to himself. And so Ed replied in a calm voice.

“Because teacher, I wanted too.” and he sealed his fate with a smile.
The teacher and boy noticed the smile too. The boys face was confused and ill prepared, he wanted things to go a different way, but instead he had received a smile from Ed, and he couldn’t understand why. He had wanted Ed to show some repentance and if he was lucky even some anger at the hammer of justice being swung down.
“My what a deviant and what a bully this boy must be.” The teacher thought.
“Detention for 1 week Ed, starting today! Think about what you’ve done, how would you like to be hurt and hit? Know that what you did was wrong! There is no excuse for what you’ve done, do you understand!? I’m calling your parents right now, they’ll hear about all that you’ve done. I hope you’re proud of what you’ve done young man!”

The boy Ed hit promptly left. Ed was directed to sit down in a seat that the teacher had pointed out for him until his parents came to pick him up. He was relaxed and at peace all the while. When Ed’s parents arrived they asked and bugged the boy as to why he had hit the other child, but Ed’s mouth remained shut and as tight as a clams. Ed never did mention what he had heard about Mitzi to his parents. It was already enough to have heard it from a fellow student, it was real enough. It would have sat wrong with Ed to have tried to dig up more details from his parents.

Ed’s friends, Tom and Kayla soon heard of the news, and thus 3 weeks had now passed since then.

V

The 3 children were still talking amongst themselves, and Kayla had asked.
“Ok you guys, hypothetically speaking, not in real life, just pretend. What if god really existed and when you died you went up to heaven, what would you do?”
Ed once again held strong. “God doesn’t exist though!”
“This is pretend Ed, just pretend.” Tom said softly.
“What would you do?”

Ed thought, and gave in. He started off with his answer immediately, for he’d thought of it many times before. He’d only tell it this time because it was pried from him.

“The first thing I would do would be to go up to God.” Ed said.
“Ya and then what!” asked Kayla expectantly,
“I would go up to god and then… and then I would smack the shit out of him.”

Kayla’s mouth dropped open and she put her hands to her mouth. Tom on the other hand couldn’t help but chuckle. He imagined Ed being introduced to God and walking up to him. Ed would get close and personal. Then suddenly you would hear a loud crack from Ed’s open palm smacking Gods left cheek. The boy imagined God to be stupefied, he’d be staring at Ed in utter disbelief at what had just occurred. Ed would be staring right back in shock and knowing Ed he’d be paralyzed in place until God handed down his judgement. Tom knew Ed would do it too, and when he smacked God Ed would do it right and put his whole body to it, the air would quiver in awe at the impact. God’s attendant’s would drop everything and stare stupidly and uselessly as he grasped at his red and quickly swelling cheek with both hands. Tom wondered if God would forgive Ed or if he would send him down to his good friend Lucifer, he never quite imagined God to be of a magnanimous nature or of kingly stature and poise. On the contrary, if ever such a thing existed, Tom imagined it to be quite human.

By this time Kayla had gotten the chance to recenter herself.
“Ohhh myy GOD! You can’t say that! He’s God, he’s the one who made you.”
“Say’s who?” replied Ed.
“He’s the highest of the high Ed. The being that stands above all! That’s why.”
Ed replied right back.
“That’s great that he’s the being above all, cause he made us all in his image! That means everyone is his equal Kayla. Every single one of us has a little bit of God in him, and that means I can smack him too!”

Ed was flustered and his lips quivered by the end of his sentence. He’d not once forgotten about Mitzi, in fact it was fresh in his mind, and he had once cried and wondered why. The world had done wrong to Mitzi, she was only an innocent pup, happy and playful as could be. Ed was elated and excited and his body was brimming with a sense of strength from the words that he had spoken. Kayla was awe struck and surprised at the audacity of what was said, but she wasn’t surprised that it was Ed saying it. In fact she was worried for him because what he said was dangerous in her eyes, but there was something else that overshadowed her worries for Ed. Kayla was secretly thrilled more than anything to have heard what Ed said. “He says he would hit God and then goes to say that he’s his equal!” She felt delight to partake from the raw emotions seeping out between them and to be witness to this whole controversy, she even felt a sense of admiration for Ed. Her eyes glistened and she almost wanted to smile from satisfaction, but it was something she would keep to herself and in no way share out loud with the other two. Kayla was God fearing and how could she possibly let out what she felt in that moment.

“Geez Ed!” Kayla replied, trying to rein in her joy from running rampant on her face.
“You’re crazy.” She said quietly.

Tom looked at Kayla and started to grin at her words, and then he looked back at Ed and exclaimed.
“HAHA, and how do YOU know that God made us all in his image!?”
Ed started to blush at the words.
“Shut up dude.” Ed said.

The boy chuckled at Ed and looked over to Kayla.
“What about you Kayla. What if a higher being really existed and it came down to Earth?”

“What kind of higher being? Like if he was God or something like that?” replied Kayla.

“Sure. The higher being could be God.” said the boy.

Kayla grew pensive.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure what I would do, but I don’t need him here to believe, and anyways he wouldn’t do that.” She said definitively.

“Come down you mean?”
“Yes.”
“Huh” Tom said.

The topic had its end there, and for the remainder of recess the group played on the jungle gym and talked about the shows they watched and their assignments and their teachers. It was a harsh and sunny day and they played without a care in the world underneath the shade of the great pine tree beside them.

VI

It was early morning the next day when Tom’s father burst into his room. He gently shook him awake.

“Wake up! Wake up!” He said in an excited whisper.
“Whats up dad.” The boy yawned.
“The news. Get up. Come over here!”

The boy rubbed his eyes. He was annoyed that he had been woken up so early, but he got up and out into the living room where his mother was seated and glued to the screen. His father had rushed to his sisters room to wake her up. The boy slowed down as he read the news banner on the screen, and slowly took a seat on the couch. The boy didn’t want to believe it, but he kept watching.

“Extraterrestrial Aircraft Crash Lands Into Hong Kong Central District”
The camera wobbled and panned over to the city scape, where a blazing trail of hell could be seen. The buildings the aircraft had crashed through were starting to rise up in flames, and the whining of ambulances and firetrucks could be heard in the background. The pavement and everything solid through which the aircraft had passed through seemed melted and disintegrated from the super heated surface of the ship. The camera panned over to the aircraft and to what looked like an open hatch. Fire was raging from within and trying to claw its way out, sparks were bursting out through the opening. The outside of the ship seemed fine, one could only see a couple of dint’s and weathering, all which came with a vehicles normal use. The camera then slowly and more wearily wobbled over to spot 20m in front of the aircraft. 2 creatures held another of their own in between them. They were bipedal with very long arms and legs that seemed to dwarf their torso by comparison. They were lanky but lean and had elongated proportional heads to match, all stood at about 7-8ft tall.

They were real, they really were! The boy tightened his fists, eased them, then tightened them again, over and over again.  The boy had always believed wholeheartedly and without a doubt that there was something else out there in the universe. How could humans possibly be the only ones? And here they were on the screen being viewed by billions of people the world round. The boy felt a sort of excitement and ecstasy at the scene unfolding on the screen.
“I wonder if they come peacefully” his mother said nervously.
Tom on the other hand was mesmerized at those creatures just being there. He saw the creatures struggling to keep upright and the one on the right side suddenly keeled over bringing the rest down with him.

The boy kept watching for hours and kept up with every single piece of news he could get his hands on. It wasn’t until lack of sleep and exhaustion had settled in that the boy’s body finally gave in to the release of sleep.

The aliens remained completely in the eye of the public throughout the following weeks. The government had taken the creatures in, and rather then detain them they decided to help them regain their strength. The governments of the world had quickly made a short official statement only hours after the crash.

“Hello fellow people of the world. For centuries now there’s always been a question of ‘are we alone?’. Could we be the only sentient beings in the great expanse of the universe? This question has plagued us for centuries and we of the human race have used no meager amount of resources to find the answer to this question. Today we’d like to announce that we no longer have to ask the question of ‘are we alone?’. Today at 9:46 UTC time this question was answered for us when an extraterrestrial aircraft crash landed in Central District, Hong Kong.

There are 3 surviving members of the crash whom we have given refuge to. At this moment all 3 are in the process of recovering and being taken care of in an undisclosed location. After our attempts at communication we want to inform the world that we’ve been able to openly converse with our visitors with ease and without any forms of misunderstanding. I would like to stress that they come to the planet in peace and with no ill will.

Never could we have imagined finding other forms of life in the the universe in this manner, much less with intelligent life whom we could openly communicate with. Its with great respect and good will that we welcome these weary travelers to our home!”

The choice to help the creatures seemed implicitly based on 2 things. The first is an event 15 min after the crash landing. One of the creatures had looked on as the ship was being consumed with flame, minutes passed and one of the creatures seemed to have come to a conclusion about something. He looked over to his two fellow companions and they nodded, giving their approval. The creature opened up his palm and started pressing the air over it with his other hand. In seconds a huge black sphere had completely engulfed the ship and all the space around it. In another couple seconds the giant bubble seemed to burst and in its place was nothing. The bubble had consumed every atom that was contained within and only the outline and shadow of what the public would name the ‘Void Sphere’ remained. The second event was when one of the visitors approached a human first. It was found out after this interaction that the aliens were able to communicate with ease and in any human language. It seemed they had not an ounce of fear from humans, and it was visibly apparent as they approached their first human with comfort and confidence. It was discovered in a later interview with the ‘first’ man that the aliens had simply asked for his assistance because their vehicle had happened to break down. The choice to treat these new visitors with respect and reverence was immediately made, it was a choice made not from good will but from fear. Even the fact that 112 people were killed by the crash was easily forgiven and was very soon forgotten through all the commotion. It was the visitors mystery and their command of an unknown but seemingly absolute power that demanded respect. Words were worth nothing in this situation, it would be through the visitors future actions that the smallest semblance of trust could be formed, not through their sincere promise of coming in peace and of no ill will.

A news event with the visitors was broadcasted days after the crash. They were still in their space suits and their visors blocked their face from being seen. It was eerie hearing a voice speak out but having no face to connect it too.

“We are of no harm to the life on this planet. We will be leaving very soon.” they said in perfect Chinese.
They explained afterwards that their ship had sent out an emergency SOS broadcast before crashing onto the planet.
“Friends” they said “will be here to pick us up within 9 full rotations of the planet.”

The government asked the creatures where they were from and if they would keep in contact with humans.
They refused to answer questions about their home and they failed to reveal any information about their people, their environment or technology. They did however mention a couple words about the latter point.

“This was an accident. There was a malfunction in the ship as we made a quick stop around this system. This planet seemed the most hospitable and so it was decided to make an emergency landing here. Once we leave I doubt you will hear from us again.”
They were not good aliens, and not even bad. They were apathetic, uncaring, and simply waiting to make their exit. They weren’t bothered or cared much for the human species and the Solar System, or the grand statistical miracle that was Earth and everything it had given birth to. It was nothing special and they seemed like benevolent hikers on a trail who happen to notice a slug in the way. They step over it, never to think about it ever again.

VII

Tom had watched everything unfold and had kept tabs day and night on the latest news and information that came from the aliens. Then one day they left, just as they said they would. A ship of the same kind had landed 9 days after their crash landing, the 3 aliens had boarded, and the ship left never to return again.

It was the night that the visitors left that Tom’s mother noticed something wrong with him. She had watched her son carefully during dinner as he cleaned his plate clean, but she noticed that he did it more methodically and with a sense of care, and even slower now. She had made the boys favorite food too, and yet the boys thoughtlessness and joy when eating his food was stunted for some reason. The mother worried only slightly, the boy could be going through a phase and maybe it was to be expected because of the amazing events that had occurred the past couple weeks.

At bedtime the mother gave her child the benefit of the doubt and embraced the boy tightly. The boy hugged back with equal strength. She gave the boy her silent blessings. There was something wrong, but she had faith in Tom. With time, things broken would mend and she knew that if Tom needed to say something he would always confide in his father.
“Have a good night.”
“Good night mom.”

The father tousled the boys hair.
“Good night kid.”
“Good night dad.”

The sister then stuck her tongue out at the boy, and the boy did the same. The mother saw this and was relieved at how normal it all was, she’d seen it tens of times before. “Here we go again” the mother thought. When the father saw he gently grabbed both by the scruff of the neck, then looked down upon his children.
“Hey now, say goodnight to each other.” the father said, and at this he released his grip.
The siblings sighed and looked at each other. “Good night.” they said with annoyance in their voice, and yet they were glad to have said it. Not one of the 2 siblings was willing to give in to the other, to relent and to say first what they wanted the other to say. They didn’t dislike each other in the least and so they were glad that there was someone above them to mediate.

Everyone retired to their room afterwards.

VIII

Tom paced around his room endlessly, he only had the comfort of silence and his thoughts now. His mind wandered from end to end, and kept bouncing from thought to thought at everything that had happened the past week and a half. Today the visitors had left and with them the anchor that had kept the boy planted in place had broken loose.

He was confused and distraught. The boy had noticed a cold bite gnawing at his heart only a day after the aliens arrived. He couldn’t pinpoint what the sensation was until that day. The wonder, mystery and belief that had consumed him was now eradicated, they had boarded the alien vessel and left, and now the boy had an aching pit as condolence. It was despondency and dejection that had been eating at him. The boy went to his drawer to grab socks and thought of his poster for the first time in a week and a half. What was it all worth now? At once a sudden and irrational wave of anger and sadness washed over him.

“Why did they have to come” Tom muttered angrily under his breath. He grabbed the poster, scrunched it up and threw it against the wall. It hit the wall with a silent thud, and then he felt like a fool for doing so. He walked over to his most prized possession, a small stupid poster for all intents and purposes. He seized it and started to unfold it with the utmost of care. He sat with his back against the wall and brought the poster up and looked upon it fondly. He saw the big flying saucer over the tree line with big white letters underneath saying “I WANT TO BELIEVE”. What did it matter now? What did his being an astronaut or scientist matter anymore if they were out there. The fact was already plain as day and no more searching or questioning was needed. He wanted to be an explorer and torch bearer into the dark unknown, it excited him and drew him in. What joy was there in something already known, in something already determined? It was the unknown and the chance of it all being a reality in the first place that had first drew the boy in.

Tom looked down on his poster. It looked like broken glass with creases running down and up in every direction from having been crushed. It had now been 2 years since he had gotten the poster, he remembered how carefully he had taken care of it and how much it had meant to him. He then put both hands at the top of the poster and ripped the poster clean in 2, he scrunched both pieces of paper and threw them in the trashcan. The boy then went to bed but he tossed and turned and the rest he was so desperate to find kept running away. It wasn’t until early in the morning that he fell asleep.

IX

The 6 aliens had now crossed 100’s of light years of space and well on their way home. The ship blasted past waves of light and distorted fields of space as it continued at cruising speed. 2 of the ships crew were on deck keeping a watchful eye on all the instruments and the system monitors of the ship, these were Tiat, and Zur. The other 4 including the rescued crew were in the common space trying to kill time. They talked, they played games, they watched entertainment or read. There was Raydo from the ships crew, and the 3 others from the crash landing were Klo, Grax, and Zom.

Raydo was an alien that just couldn’t sit still, he always wanted a little liveliness or something to stave off the pangs of boredom. It was the reason why Zur, the leader of his crew, had let him be in the common space with the others. Raydo could be quite hectic on the deck and little more than a detriment to Tiat and Zur, but down on the ground when they had work to do it was a different story. The roles would reverse and Tiat and Zur would sit back and watch Raydo do what he did best.

Raydo was the best diplomat and salesmen between them, and could sell any species and planets government on a worm gate from their company (assuming the species was technological enough). This would effectively allow the planet admittance into the greatest trading market in the universe, planet Handzu. The planet itself was covered  in a radar scrambling array that blocked any internal attempt to determine its location. Its coordinates was knowledge only few had the privilege of knowing. The other fact that made the trading planet so enticing for newcomers was the companies strict set of rules for trade and interaction between buyers and sellers. This along with the companies heavy security detail made the planet an ideal place for trade between completely different planetary species, it was a safe haven to the extent that one didn’t cause to much commotion or try to undermine the system within. For most planetary traders, the heavy eye of the company and all its restrictions was a fair price to pay for the opportunity to trade and to see the wares that the rest of the universe had to offer. The amount of varying species and the extraordinary worlds from which they hailed from would make one think it was all a figment conceivable only by the imagination.

Back on the ship, Raydo was sitting down at two tables across from the rescued crew. He happened to be bored, he’d been on his visor for most of the trip already, he turned it off and looked up to the rescued crew. They were sitting round a table doing something together. He watched for some time and decided he wanted entertainment. The crash landing was then brought to mind. Raydo thought it an excellent topic to comment on and a way to poke fun and perhaps spark a little fire between him and the other 3.

“Can’t believe you guys crashed! What were you doing, were your visors up your ting hole, hahahaha!” Raydo suddenly cried out to the 3.

Klo whipped his neck around. He was ready, he loved to banter and have fun himself.
“Driving a ship can be hard work you know!” He said.
“Not like you would know, I guess they made you babysitter hahaha! Why don’t you go up on deck and make yourself useful!”
Klo had hit Raydo right on his soft spot. Raydo’s blood boiled as he arose from his seat. It was just what he was hoping for.
“Watch your mouth Klo.”
“or what?” Klo said. He mimicked Raydo and got up to face him.

Grax and Zom had been watching quietly. It was at this point that Zom put a peremptory end to it all.
“That’s enough.” he quietly said.

Klo looked back to face Zom.
“Cmon, I didn’t start anything! It was Raydo” Klo pleaded.
“Just sit back down.”  Klo stared at Zom for a couple moments and then reluctantly took a seat.
“Fine”

Zom looked over to Raydo, he was still standing.
“C’mon Raydo. Why don’t you join us for a game?” he said pointing to the 4th seat at the table.

“What!” exclaimed both Raydo and Klo from surprise.
“Now he’s gonna play with us!” Klo cried out.
“Shut up Klo.” Grax said.
Raydo ignored what was being said and his eyes shifted to the seat. Slowly his anger subsided to just a ripple, and he looked at the seat wantingly.
“What are you guys playing?” He asked
“Come take a seat and find out.” Zom said, and he shifted his attention back to the game.
Raydo approached the table.

“Ahhhh!” Grax said as he noticed the time, he became silent, and put his head down with his hands on his laps.
Klo checked the time, “Its that time again huh.”
Raydo took the 4th seat and looked to Grax, “What’s going on.” looking at Klo and Zom for an answer.
Klo shook his head in disapproval, he didn’t want to answer. Meanwhile Zom started to reset the game.

After half a minute passed Grax lifted his head. “Done”
“What happened?” Raydo asked Grax curiously.

Grax remembered the day of the crash landing, he was tired the morning of and it had skipped his mind entirely. After the crash he had blamed himself and his forgetfulness and a renewed sense of faith had reinvigorated him ever since.

Grax smiled and looked up to Raydo. “A small prayer to get us home safely.”

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