|| All My Aliens - Sci-Fi Soap Opera #108|
Shortly after Peliix was corralled by his Instructor, Glaboo paid a visit to Bard and Bird. Truly, any rest and recuperation seemed almost impossible for them to find on the ship. It seemed that almost everyone felt the need to report in to them or obtain their advice.
“I’m so sorry to intrude upon your recuperation father and aunt,” Glaboo began, “but we are going to have to make a decision about what to do with Barbara’s family soon. Is it safe to send them back to Earth at all? And if so, do we wipe their memories? Many feel that they have seen way too much for non-agents. At the same time, I don’t feel quite right about the memory-wipe option – they have all helped and cooperated in every way, leaving me somewhat torn about the issue. In addition, there is the substantial period of time needing to be erased – making the procedure quite a bit less effective and allowing for some unpleasant side-effects, as we all are quite aware.” ...
“I was hoping one of us could talk to Barbara soon about this – but I am not sure what to say,” Glaboo finished, “as Elders, I suppose I'd feel more comfortable laying this in your laps – I truly hope you don’t mind.”
Bard sighed, “Yes, a decision will have to be made soon. I hate to erase anyone’s memories, and as you mentioned, Earthlings often do not take well to it. I suppose we will have to observe and speak with all of them, then make our decision based on that.
“I agree. Shall I send them to meet with you after their rest period, then?” Glaboo offered.
“No, daughter, let’s give them some time. Perhaps you will find that you have new agents in training...” Bard added thoughtfully.
His sister, Bird, smiled, thinking that keeping it in the family might work out quite well.
Barbara and Dave joined her family, Tilly and Suli, John and Grrphh for dinner in their joint accommodations on the ship. Al was quite proud of the feast Tilly and Suli had shown them how to procure. The food was served in dishes that kept the offerings at exactly the right temperature throughout the meal. Al and his grandparents talked delightedly about their time at the ship’s ‘zoo’ and how much they looked forward to seeing other parts of the ship. John suggested that they visit one of the viewing rooms after dinner. Barbara seemed as interested as the rest of her family – she’d not had an opportunity during her previous brief visit, as most of her time was spent in training.
Peliix was experiencing his own training time. Because of his unending stunts, he was now being kept in an isolated secure room. His only “entertainment” was study – Instructors and Teachers came and went, and left him with assignments. None of the standard facilities for communication, entertainment, games, music, or art were available to him. It was made clear that he would sit alone in the room until his work was properly completed. Then he would receive food and another visit from a Teacher.
The small alien was miserable – he could only keep chiding himself for the mistake of running off from Al in the first place– who actually was pretty great as a captor.
After what seemed an eternity, but was actually little more than an Earth day, Bard came to visit him.
Peliix threw himself on the ground and pleaded, “Please, Bard, oh please my most honored protector, save me from my taskmasters – they want the impossible and have had me locked up here forever – since I saw you last, in fact!”
Bard laughed out loud. “Peliix, I am sure that you will eventually make a great assistant – in fact I am going to make sure that you do. I know training, learning patience, and most especially receiving instruction is difficult for you. I can only say that it is necessary and that someday you will see this. Freedom from this tedious routine is not that far off - that is, if you put your not inconsiderable energy towards it. I am counting on you, you know. Not everyone thinks you are up to it – but I KNOW you can do it.”
Remembering Bard’s words, an Eldestan’s words, no less, helped Peliix through some of the hard, boring, and uninteresting parts of his training, but he counted every moment nonetheless.
Barbara and her family were absolutely wowed by the viewing room, once they got used to the feeling of floating free in a large area from which only space was visible – above, below, outward... There was one small door leading back through a tunnel to the ship from this extruded bubble.
Al took to weightlessness like a fish to water – for the others, new to this experience, just being able to keep from careening across the open space unexpectedly, took a bit of practice! Luckily, their hosts had managed to overcome the unpleasant side-effects humans sometimes experienced with the consumption of a pleasant lemony-tasting drink, offered at the entry point.
The view, once motion was controlled, was incredible – Earth and the Moon were beautiful beyond imagining from this perspective. Slowly changing as the ship rotated, the stars and planets kept Amy and Joe mesmerized. Dave guided Barbara to a section of the 'wall' where they enjoyed the view together. Al, Tilly and Suli spent several minutes enjoying the scenery and the rest of the time trying to outdo each other in acrobatics.
Eventually they grew tired, and decided to head back to their quarters. The group was trudging along the corridors when Joe and Amy froze at the sight of the being approaching them. The thing looked like something out of a nightmare – a lot like a flying dinosaur or dragon, and very much like the creature that had tried to kidnap Barbara back on Earth...
To be continued…
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