Back on the alien vessel
The ‘ooh’ from Nancy was unmistakable the moment we rematerialized in the alien’s ship’s bridge. It could be one of those awe-inspiring moments, had it not been for the circumstances.
The second time on the bridge, I realized that it was a little more sparse than it had been before, with a wall of control panels missing, along with a panel that stretched across the front of the Captain’s chair, but with no crew members present.
It was now a blank space. The whole space could have been a large empty room with windows overlooking empty space, except in the distance, our two ships. Beyond that, there seemed to be a thin streak of light, or colored lights, flickering. At a guess they might be a long, long, long way away, but whether it was in the direction we had come, or where we were going, or somewhere else, I couldn’t tell.
On the other side of the bridge, the female alien was still holding the Russian Captain, some sort of weapon at his throat.
I was still feeling the tingling sensation that was the effect after re-materialization. The first time it was disorientating, I was prepared this time.
I was also not sure what to expect, now that it was clear the aliens were not what they portrayed themselves to be. Of course, it was naive of me to expect that others in the galaxy would be better than us.
“An explanation of what this is really about might go a long way towards preventing tragic consequences.” I thought I’d throw out the opening gambit.
“Agreed. I had hoped the problem could have been resolved before your arrival. As you might be aware, we have the ability to transport our people, and I had hoped to recover the missing citizens that were taken by this,” he pointed to the Russian, “captains ship.”
“They asked for asylum, we did not take them.”
Another piece of the puzzle, the female must be one of the Aliens crew, and had beamed aboard, taken the captain hostage, and demanded the release of the citizens.
Question: why hadn’t he simply beamed them back?
To the Alien, “Is this true?”
Note: this alien had a very good grasp of the nuances of the English language.
“Semantics or not, if you know anything about earth culture, it’s that we look after those who need help, and if people come to us asking for asylum, we generally give it. You will also be aware that those who ask for asylum generally are in fear of their lives. The question is, why would these people ask for asylum.”
“The people aboard that ship are criminals who were serving their sentences in one of our remote facilities. Your captain apparently came across this remote facility and assisted in setting the criminals free. When we sent a ship to apprehend them, they were taken aboard the earth ship and it attempted to leave. We were going to stop the earth vessel from leaving when your ship appeared, and it seemed prudent not to display hostility. There was also the possibility you were working together.”
“We are not, as you are now aware. Nor would I be willing to interfere with your internal matters, except that it involves another of our ships, one I didn’t know about, which only complicates matters.
Why do you have the captain.”
“He refused to set the prisoners.”
“If you could beam your operative and the captain here, why not just beam the criminals too.”
“They are currently protected in a special part of the captain’s ship that does not allow us to bring them back. They obviously told him what our capabilities are.”
Criminals, if they were criminals, seeking asylum. If it was me, I would be happy for someone else to take away the criminal element and make it someone else’s problem. The unfortunate truth in our world is that criminals didn’t go to jail anymore, they were shipped off to remote mining planets where they spent the rest of their days working in very harsh conditions. Over time it had proved to be a very good deterrent, so much so, that off plant mining operations now had to pay large sums of money to get people to work there.
“Find the so-called criminals the captain has stowed on his vessel and ask them what their side of the story is. Quick as you can.”
I looked over to the Russian Captain. “You might want to tell your second in command to make things easier for my crew.”
A look from me to the alien, and back, time to consider my request, then gave the order.
“On my way, sir.”
© Charles Heath 2021-2022