I always wanted to see the planets – Episode 14

We have an unusual visitor

The captain seemed calm for a man with a ray gun that could be used on him at any moment.

I cursed the fact we were not allowed to carry weapons, even if they were standard issue revolvers that shot just plain bullets.

But we were on a peaceful mission to discover new life in outer space. We just didn’t expect to find it so soon, within our own solar system. After all we’ve been out to as far as Pluto, and a little beyond for at least ten years without any encounters like this.

If the captain was remaining calm, so would I.

“What sort of help, sir?”

“Identifying the mineral the thieves just took so they can return it. Apparently, these space pirates have spies on Earth who have been there for quite some time, looking at our defence systems.”

That statement begged so many questions I didn’t know where to start. The first, though, was this one of the pirates acting like the space police, for reasons yet unknown?

Had the captain considered this possibility.

“Then they picked a doozie to steal. If they understand the potential of the material…”

Our visitor cut in, “We are well aware of the possibilities of using plutonium in bombs and the damage it can do. We have similar material, but far less accessible.

“How long is a long time?”

OK, I was stuck on this whole invasion thing. It would be naïve of me to think we were the only life forms in space, but actually discovering we were not against assuming so was a little daunting, and a lot to take in.

“Since before your so called second world war. But all of this is irrelevant. Your superior says the decision to join us is meant to be a joint decision between you two.”

“Again, what sort of help can we provide you. We do not have the same speed capability, nor beaming technology, except for moving inanimate objects. And I suspect you know of our weapons capability.”

“You understand the nature of plutonium, and how to transport it safely. I suspect the fools who took it have no understanding of its danger to life forms. When we catch up with them, we’ll need your expertise to render it safe, and then take it back.”

“You know where they are?”

“Where they’re headed, yes. It’s one of the moons of the planet you call Uranus, called Oberon.”

“It’s a bit cold there, and we have been there and found nothing.”

“Did you look under the ice?”

Good point. But, of course, it didn’t answer the fundamental question that just rose to the surface, why was the captain deferring to me when he needed no such help in the decision making process?

I shrugged. “Well, we’ve got nothing better to do.”

© Charles Heath 2021

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