“When we set out to find intelligent life out there in the universe, many were skeptical. Yet neither I nor my crew knew what would become of us that day…“ He paused and let out a short breath out “That day, when we shot up into the sky into the infiniteness of the universe.” He paused again and prepared himself to make the announcement he had practiced a million times “We have made contact. We have found and interacted with extraterrestrial life outside our planet. After traveling to many planetary systems we finally…. found life…”
A loud knock interrupted him “Commander, commander.”
He looked at himself in the mirror, right into his eyes and told himself “That speech was almost perfect. They will love it.” “Commander, It’s an emergency.”
‘We are light years away from home, here if someone has a hiccup its an emergency’ The commander thought. He opened the door “What is it?”
They walked towards the main deck.
“One of our men was… sick.”
“Sick? How Sick?” He knew if it was an emergency, ‘sick’ meant a lot more.
“Its not that he was sick. But, why he was sick that is important Sir”. There was clear fear filled in his voice. “He was infected by an alien virus.”
“What?” The commander stopped walking looked at his deputy “An alien virus?”
“Yes, But he is alright”
“What do you mean… alright?” The commander sounded puzzled, he slowly moved forward “There is no trace of the virus in his body. The only thing it seems to have done is made him lose weight.”
“What? That is nice to hear but how does all this constitute an emergency.” The commander added sarcastically.
“The virus died in his body. It seems the virus has a problem with our blood. It just disintegrates with our blood a few hours after it enters the body. It just takes a few ounces of blood to destroy the virus spread all over the body”
The commander patiently entered the elevator. He knew he was being told this coz it was absolutely important. Every member of his crew after spending years with him knew how he thought and analyzed a problem. He needed every single bit of information.
His junior continued “The virus cannot harm us. The problem is the virus is the most feared disease in the Aliens”
The commander looked into the eyes of his junior. He had been looking else were all this time trying to sink in every bit of information. He knew the bad news was coming. “They have turned into savages sir. They have abducted two of our crew members.”
The silence in the pause was deafening. “Are they alive?” The commander’s question took him by surprise “I don’t know commander”
“How were they taken?”
“I’m not sure if there was a fight but none of the weapons were fired otherwise we would have heard it.”
“How long back were they taken?”
“Not sure sir, but it was between 15 to 30 min back. They used one of our pods to take them back.” He was speaking very fast “The ones that had come with us to visit our planet sir, they took them. I don’t know how they knew about this the doc just found about it.”
The commander stepped up to the computer screen and ordered his deputy “How far are the pods?”
“The pods are much slower than us we can catch them in a few min.”
“’Can?’ Are you are telling me we are still heading home when our friends are in mortal danger?”
He paused and turned around and ordered “Turn back we are now on a rescue mission.”
People on the deck were running back to their places, the already tense crew now clearly had fear in their faces. The commander needed only one glance to recognize his old fiend ‘fear’.
When you travel thousands of miles into space fear is something you become very close to and its so easy to tell if someone is scared. Where they were fear grew exponentially and a scared crew member’s productivity was a tenth of his capacity.
It was the first time in a long time that the commander did not know what to say to encourage his crew. He clearly felt that something was bothering the crew but did not know what… rescuing 2 crew members in a pod with 3 aliens was not very difficult.
This thought had just occurred when the deputy who had escorted him spoke “Sir, I think you need to see something.” He was directed thru a maze of rooms to the control deck of the ship. As soon as they entered the main control room he saw blood on the floor and around the corner he saw the body.
The body was clearly lifeless, it was of a male crew member and his head was disfigured. The neck was half chewed out and he looked like he had bled to his death.
The commander only said “How many of them have seen this?”
“All of them sir, Before I informed you we had discovered this body and by the time I reached you… everyone knew.”
“How come you didn’t bring me directly here?”
“I initially intended to but when you asked me about the hostages and if they were alive… I felt that was more important.”
Just then there was a beep on the intercom. “Yes…” “We have located them sir, they are within range and cannot escape. Do you want us to force them to dock the ship.”
“Yes do that, we are coming to the deck.”
The pod had docked and the doors of the pod opened but nobody came out. The fact that the pod had gone in the wrong direction proved how little the aliens knew about their technology.
Five crew members including the commander geared up to enter the pod and remove its hostile inhabitants. They slowly approached the door and entered the pod noiselessly.
The pod was huge… it was constructed to serve as a temporary base when they land on a planet. This particular pod had been used four times and was used when they landed on the alien planet. Every pod was similar in design… The main entrance had a narrow passage to enter and then a circular hallway that went around the entire pod. Entrances to rooms were along the inner wall and it was connected to most rooms. The rooms in turn were connected to other rooms. Searching the pod was going to be hectic as its residents could move from one room to another with ease… this was a defensive measure used in the design to facilitate survival in case of attacks.
The commander knew all this very well and had thought about countering this. He took out a rectangular device from his coat pocket and switched it on. The green tint on the screen reflected on his face and the architectural view of the pod appeared on screen. The screen then was updated with 2 irregular shaped objects that slowly came to focus. The objects were in the dining room and in the storage room.
The walk to the storage room was a nervous one. Every one was extra alert but they did not know what the aliens were capable of.
The sight that greeted them in the storage room left them clueless. Their crew member was alive and gagged in the corner. As soon as they removed the piece of cloth covering his mouth he coughed and stammered
“Run! It’s a trap.”
It happened so fast that it did not make sense at first. But now it hardly mattered that the aliens attacked and half the crew was now dead and gone. The commander had always believed that the aliens were dumb; else they would have found us and not the other way round. But now he had to credit their intelligence and their technology. They had successfully faked the sensors making them believe that only 2 bodies were onboard the pod and when the rescue team arrived…
“It’s all over” The commander said to himself… “They are not behind us anymore and we were too fast for them” The sentence getting louder towards the end. The crew looked tired and he said the only thing he knew would console them “We will be home soon…”
A few days later they approached it the blue spot in the sea of darkness. The space craft was designed to land at request… There was no turbulence during the landing… it was a perfect landing. Yet something was different… there was no crowd, no media… nobody.
They stopped as close as they could to the main building and simply walked to the building hoping to find answers to the questions that puzzled them. The lobby at the airport looked empty and they walked into the main hall… That’s when a voice said out loud “Surround them…” The voice continued
“Drop your weapons commander you are outnumbered…”
And from nowhere hundreds of aliens surrounded them. It took hardly a moment to disarm the crew… The leader of the aliens, the one screaming the commands stepped up and said “Commander a word with you before the inevitable.”
The room was well lit and there were two other alien soldiers with the commander and the alien chief. The chief was sitting on the desk looking right at the commander as the guards stood on either side of the cuffed commander “I am sorry to be the one to tell you, Commander your complete race is under our control. Last I heard there are some fractions of ‘your kind’ still defying us but we are certain they will be captured.” The commander only stared.
“You don’t understand commander… we are not barbaric. It’s just the disease… Back at home there are more suffering from the life threatening disease than the healthy. The disease is the worst thing to have hit our planet and fortunately or unfortunately your blood is the cure.” He was now looking outside the window and sipping something brown form a cup in his hand.
“You were not informed of this but one of your crew members got affected by the disease when you were on our planet. This was well before the one on board got diagnosed. My doctors treated him and realized then itself that your blood was the cure we were searching for decades. We were thrilled and wanted to separate the cure from your blood so that we could help the millions suffering but alas it was your blood that was the cure not a part of it.” He now walked back to the desk and sat down.
“The whole attack in the space craft was a planned one. It was meant to be a distraction until we could travel to your planet and harvest every drop of blood we could.”
“Harvest… ” The commander smirked.
This enraged the chief “You think this decision was easy for me. To destroy an entire planet so that mine can survive…” Their eyes were locked. “Do you know how it feels to know that your only son is dying? That you wait for 10 years see him suffer through different stages and you are helpless coz there is just no cure.” The chief’s eyes were watering.
“But then you showed up and there was something I could do…” He sat back and a smile appeared on his face.
He got up and walked to the window again. The light through his window hitting his face making it appear bright. “It’s a really beautiful planet you have… I had the honor of surveying it from space… to locate locations to attack first.”
He took in a long breadth and continued “Our Earth was just like this equally beautiful… I wish I could have shown it to you…” He turned to face the commander “Guess that won’t be happening anytime soon…” He nodded as a sign and the two guards made the commander stand up and walked him out the door…