(part 5 of 5 of feature week!)
Boon looked down at his fellow Maerrisian, who was strapping him into the small interior of the drop pod. Unlike him, Krogna was born a low-line blood, thus was small, skinny, and weak. Despite this, Krogna had brains, discipline, and a good heart. Today Boon thought it was oddly cold. It was a big day for the Outer Alliance. A decision was going to be made after all the years of sluggish debate.
He noticed Krogna was looking up at him with those small, dark, deep-set eyes. It was often hard knowing what was going on when someone was a third of your height. Krogna looked concerned.
"Munalie ecca unno," said the small grey creature peering up at him. There was ice in his voice, and he was most certainly pushing it hard today.
"Munalie ecca unno," he repeated, this time kicking Boon on the shin.
"Ourg, ourg," Boon pleaded, before pressing a small green button on a collar around his neck, which lit up a few shades brighter than his natural skin tone.
The grey waited before he clicked his fingers frantically. "Doo doo, faryoup."
"Maips taka," whispered Boon.
The grey slapped his forehead-loud enough for others in the distance to hear. "Faryoup, faryoup, FAROUP," shouted Krogna, before he kicked the large green once again, this time with real anger. "Mok tabooplu, faryoup."
Boon sighed with relief, pressing the green button until it turned dark once more. Then he pressed an amber button near the green instead. It lit up brightly, lighting the small interior of his pod. He cleared his throat.
"You . . . hear . . . me?"
Krogna smiled before pressing his own amber button. "Yes, you speak Earthling. Question is, you understand it?"
Boon nodded. "Yes."
"Good, good." He pulled out a data pad and began pressing symbols with his three long slender fingers until the screen flashed red. "You know procedure, yes?"
"Yes," Boon grunted
Krogna pressed a button inside the interior and suddenly dozens of large rope membranes came from holes in the sides, wrapping around Boon, steadying him upright, tightly. A soft, large metallic hose hovered over the green, and wavered above his lips before pushing forward and down his throat, which he accepted. A yellow looking substance slowly filled his lungs.
"Good luck, friend," Krogna said, and pressed another button, shutting and sealing the pod's doors. He punched a code from the outside, then looked through a small window where he watched the interior fill up with thick red gel. Moments later a deep noise rattled throughout the ship. The pod slid from its cradle, suction pulled the tear shaped craft through a tunnel carved deep within. The pod followed its path, picking up speed before being shot into space, toward that always debatable lonely blue and green gem known as Earth.
Even with his lungs filled with breathable liquid and surrounded by cold, shock absorbing gel, Boon was going to be conscious for the duration of the short trip.
The journey from the Maerrisian Battleship to Earth would be fairly simple. The Battleship itself was in sync with its surroundings-creating perfect cloaking. Earthlings were probably another century away from figuring out they had been watched by such a vessel for centuries. But, by then, it would be too late.
The pod, which was only a few meters larger than Boon himself, would look like a falling star, a purple one in fact. The impact was not going to be fun-a dry landing, impacting the Earth at around five hundred miles per hour. At its peak speed, the pod would travel close to seventeen hundred, but thrusters would kick in a mile out, and hopefully the gel would be bound properly by the time impact occurred. The pod was designed to hit at its point, where large fiber-like tentacles would harpoon out and grasp objects, preventing the craft from lodging too far into whatever lay below. The drop-pod started to rock heavily, and Boon went over the basics of the plan to settle his nerves.
The Maerrisian's had decided to keep watch over the ever advancing Earth for nearly six hundred years, and had recently discovered that conflicts on the pretty planet were not going so well. Intelligence was gathering hard facts over eighteen Earth months, and as much as everyone wanted to dismiss it, governments were well on their way to beginning what they would call 'World War III'. The council agreed this would not be allowed. Losing humanity was acceptable, but the Earth itself was one of a kind. The human weapons were advancing far to fast, and another World War would only advance this further. Today a decision would be made. Should the planet itself be saved now?
Other species over the decades had tried communicating with humanity, but everything so far had been swiftly swatted by governments. The Maerrisian were a different matter for the humans, for they were the first, and they had created The Outer Rim Alliance. What they decided, all others followed. His initial objective was to make first contact. From there, word was to spread so that, in time, talking to the governments would be possible, but only after word had gotten out to enough people. If this objective was compromised, he was to make contact with the Battleship where Maerrisian Cruisers were waiting in deep space to play their role, a more sinister one, for humans. The planet would benefit much more if it came to the later, Boon figured.
The pod shot through the atmosphere with a purple trail arcing behind it. The thrusters engaged one mile out, and the red and orange membrane tentacles homed in on everything surrounding the landing site, attaching to trees, rocks, a scarecrow, and dozens of other structures. The pod kissed the Earth. Dirt, rocks, and parts of a tree sprang hundreds of meters into the air.
Silence slowly returned to the land, which was mostly in darkness. Fingers of orange and purple crept across the horizon from the east. Roosters in the distance announcing the awakening of a new day.
Time passed, and the first rays of light brushed upon the ivory colored pod. A small, soft click came and steam poured forth. A door popped out slightly, and red ooze gushed out from within. Moments later, another hiss and the door slid completely open, light penetrating the interior, dampening the purple and blue flashing lights.
Boon leaped out, hunching, whist covering his eye, protecting them from the sudden glare. He felt the red ooze on his body crystallize as the sunlight washed over him, which he dusted off. He heard a chirp, most likely a bird, and then stood up straight, rising to his full height of fifteen feet. He stretched out the aches that had spread throughout his one ton frame, all ripping muscle.
He started walking, but stopped. "Stupid!"
He backtracked to the craft, reached inside, and grabbed a large object. A massive, dull ebony and silver sword, which was ten feet long with a blade that, at the base, was six inches thick. It was big, and it was for the strong-bad ass and unbreakable-unlike those it chose to greet. He slipped it into the holster over his back, where it hung diagonally.
Boon licked his lips and spat on his green grubby hands. He wiped them over two, large black ridged horns rising out just above his forehead, and twisting back over his head. They gleamed slightly. It was a sign of respect to keep your horns wet and gleaming.
On his left arm, Boon had a touch-screen-data-pad plugged in. The information told him he was five human miles away from the nearest town-a small village by the looks of it, with few people. This, he thought, was a good start.
Just a few miles into the trek, he stopped and wiped sweat from his forehead. It was running down his back in large globs. Earth was much cooler than his home world, but the gravity was heavier. It could have been due to ten years planted on that stinking observation battleship, now that he thought about it. How he hoped this mission wouldn't take long . . .
As he was nearing the town, a small amber dot appeared on the screen. Someone was close. This was it.
Around him hundreds of colorful trees stood only slightly taller than his huge frame. They were full of round berries, or seeds, or maybe fruit. Human ecology was a weak point, which he cared little for. Boon liked meat, greasy meat, full of dripping fat.
The monitor said the human was only twenty meters away. He walked toward a bigger tree-a much larger one, without the round things, just lots of shade. He hid behind it, or as much as a one ton, fifteen foot alien that looked half human and half bull could.
Peering around the trunk, he was somewhat bemused. The human was small. It was very small, Boon thought, has to be a child. He really wished he had Krogna's brain, or had at least paid attention in class.
The child was sitting on the ground playing with some toys that were made in the image of a human. The child was too busy to notice anything else. It was talking to the toys in a high-pitched voice, and then talking back in a deeper one. Were humans really this odd? It looked so strange-long, curly black locks hung to its shoulders. It had fluffy pink cheeks, huge blue eyes, and it must like meat as well, because Boon could see it had many teeth missing. It was wearing a white sleeveless dress with blue flowers. The mud on the ground had stained its knees and dress.
If he wanted to complete the mission, he had to find an elder. He stepped around the tree, slowly walking so the little human would not look up from its activity. Underfoot a thick fallen tree branch snapped beneath Boon's left foot. "Great," he muttered under his breath.
The little one saw him. He was sure it would run off screaming. This was not going to plan.
The child looked at its two toy Earthlings and said, "Look, look, another friend for your wedding." It placed the toys in the mud, got up clumsily, and rushed toward Boon with an odd looking expression-a smile.
This was unexpected, he thought.
The little one walked up to him, in his shadow, standing not much taller than his knee. It bent its neck back, and the child's blue eyes stared deep into his own.
"Wowwy, you sure are big," it said as it cocked its head to the side, "and green."
Boon wriggled his snout and snorted. It smelt . . . off.
The child laughed, whilst covering its mouth.
"Will you come to their wedding?" it asked, pointing to the lifeless toys laying face down in the mud. "Please, please, please?"
Boon turned his head, hoping maybe the child would get bored. It walked around until it was in his vision again, than waved.
It covered its eyes, blocking the bright morning sun "Hello."
It laughed again. "You talk funny."
He snorted again. "You look stupid, and smell strange."
The child placed its hand on its hips and frowned. "How rude," then it laughed. "Mummy would think so. She always says that to daddy, but he's not, daddy's funny."
"I must talk to an Elder, child. Important."
The child's smile fell away before it pulled something out of a pocket in the dress. It was round and pink. He had seen them on the trees.
"At least have an apple, they're super yummy, double even." It stretched an arm out which still didn't reach his waist. "Just don't eat too many. Your tummy will hurt." It strained on its tippy-toes and thrust the apple toward him, until it was making strange gasping sounds.
He sighed, bent down, and with his finger tips, grasped the small apple from its hand.
"Try it, try it."
He placed it in his mouth and barely tasted it-so small it could have got stuck between his teeth. He thought he tasted something sweet, maybe.
"Will you be my friend?" the child suddenly asked.
He snorted as he often did when confused. "Sure, but . . . "
The child placed a hand around one of his fingers, or tried to, and then tried to pull him over to the toys. "Come on, just for a while. Please, please."
They sat for almost an hour. Apparently the white doll, named Lisa, was marrying the ebony doll, Gregory. After the wedding, he sat and pretended to drink champagne out of a white plastic teacup. The girl child told him how Mummy was always nagging Daddy, and making him mad. She told him how Daddy was always working, and she told him how a boy called Dale had kissed her behind the barn last week on her sixth birthday. It was gross apparently.
"Mary," a voice called out in the distance. "Mary, where are you?" It sounded worried.
"Mummy," the girl cried out in response. She grabbed his finger again. "Come, lets go meet the adults now."
"You are sure?"
She nodded. "Hurry though, Mummy hates waiting."
Together they got up. She handed him Lisa and Gregory while she wiped dirt off her skirt and knees. "Follow me." She kept a hold of his finger and tried to skip along.
They reached the end of the line of trees, coming to a field which was open. A hundred yards away was a small white house, in between stood some bigger humans. Perfect, Boon thought, Elders.
Mary ran toward her mother. "Mummy, Mummy. Look at my new friend . . . "
Mary's mother screamed. "Mary, get over here now, get over here." She ran toward the child, grabbing her arm. She let out another blood curdling scream when she saw how close she was to it.
"A monster!" she screamed. "Martin, get the gun! Now! Fast! Hurry!" Her words were a blur in the haste of panic.
She dragged Mary by the arm and ran. Mary cried with pain. "Mummy he's my friend," she said. "Ouch! Mummy, that hurts. Mummy!"
The child's mother let go of her Mary's arm and looked down with a snarl. She swung her hand, slapping her daughter hard across the face. It sounded like the large branch Boon had snapped under his foot earlier "How dare you? How dare you be so reckless?"
A bunch of men came running-all holding what Boon figured were weapons. He looked at Mary, crying with a large red hand print on her face.
How could this have gone wrong so fast.
"What the hell is that?" screamed one man with a strange straw hat on.
"Oh my god!" screamed another
"Good Lord, what the hell?" exclaimed the last of the three men-a smoke hanging from his lips.
"Shoot it, shoot it," pleaded the woman.
Boon stepped forward. "Please humans, we talk . . . "
They either didn't hear, or didn't care. The three men aimed their guns toward the green creature and pulled their triggers. He was shot in the chest, legs, and arms. None of the shots were critical, or even close to being so. One thing Maerrisian's had was muscle, and tough skin. As weak as the bullets may have been, dark blue blood dribbled down from the wounds where the bullets lodged. Another round of shots came his way with more shots hitting-one in the mouth. It hurt. His body started to feel itchy, sore even. He didn't like this. Nobody was listening to him or wanted to.
"Leave him alone!" cried Mary. She dropped Lisa and Gregory and ran toward her new friend. She ran as fast as her legs would allow her.
The girl had only crossed half the distance between the two before her body twisted in funny directions-her mouth opening up before a scream escaped. She fell awkwardly to the ground.
The mother screamed as well, but silenced when the monster rushed toward Mary, picking her up. "Leave my daughter alone, you beast!" she yelled.
Boon looked at the girl who was on her back, sobbing. Her white dress with the delicate blue flower pattern was now blooming red buds. He bent down, picking her up, watching the buds turn into rose petals. He ignored the older humans' cries and ran back toward the line of trees as fast as he could, with the child cradled on his arm. He had to cover some distance, and fast.
Every once in awhile, he looked down at the child to make sure she was still breathing. After ten minutes of running, he had left the humans well and truly behind. He stopped, sat down, and lifted his hands to get a closer look of Mary.
The red flowers that had appeared were now one giant flower on Mary's chest. It had spread out with ribbons of crimson, now running down her left arm, and out the corner of her mouth. She coughed and the flow became stronger.
"Mummy," she whispered, then shook her head. "No, it's you." Her eyes swam in happiness.
Boon snorted. "It's me. It's Boon."
The girl tried to smile. "You'll be my friend always, won't you?"
Boon felt an odd pain in his chest. "Forever and ever, little human." It felt so tight, so hard to breathe.
Something inside his chest ached and his eyes stung. He didn't know what was wrong, but he couldn't stop snorting. He had never felt a pain like this in his entire life.
He wanted to say more, but when he looked down, the girl's arm fell off his hand, limply-her eyes open, but lifeless. Boon knew she was dead.
He placed her on the ground gently before punching the nearest tree as hard as he could, almost tearing it from the earth, letting out a deafening roar of anger. Birds in the distance took flight, unhappy to be startled.
Time passed-he wasn't sure how long-but the sun rose well over his head and started to lower again, on the other side. His mind felt numb. He no longer knew what to do. He wanted humans to suffer so badly, but allowing this would mean girls like Mary would never have the chance to live. He stroked Mary's cold cheek. "Someone else's decision. No longer Boon's."
He waited until he heard voices. It was dark now and he could see light flashing through the distant trees. He no longer cared. As horrid as humans were, they had given him something-anger, rage. He didn't care anymore. Life felt different-meanings no longer the same.
He walked toward the lights where one beam finally struck him. "Over there, OVER THERE!" A loud machine rattling noise exploded around him, dozens of them, followed by pain all over. He ran near a cluster of three lights, stomping until they went away and voices screamed in agony.
There was nothing more he could do. More lights came forth, dozens and dozens, so many voices, so much hate. He didn't care though, it was surprising, he thought. He sank to his knees as hundreds of bullets penetrated his skin, and eventually deeper within. His vision became dark. The world became silent. He fell forward-from his knees, onto the earth. For a second he heard cheers of victory around him. His last thought was what everything intelligent, and stupid alike, in the universe thinks at some point in their life. Why?
Somewhere in the lands we all shall come to know one day, a human girl named Mary, and a Maerrisian known as Boon, danced in God's embrace as one, where they were friends forever and ever.