"For those of you just joining us, NASA officials report what they believe to be several spacecraft on a course to Earth. They also report not to have had any previous warning or communication with any society outside of our own planet up until now. Originally discovered by amateur astronomers entering the solar system from South of the orbital plane, shown here in this diagram, they made a course correction near Jupiter that put their trajectory inline with that of Earth's orbit. Astronomers estimate that at their current trajectory, they will arrive at Earth by this time tomorrow.
"Every available ground-based telescope, as well as the orbiting Hubble and James Webb telescopes, have been trained on the crafts to learn all that we can before they arrive. To reiterate what was said before, no warning has been given of their arrival and no communication has been made with the crafts. Their intentions are completely unknown and entirely the subject of speculation.
"As far as experts can tell from visual inspections, each craft is virtually identical to the others. Best estimates show that they're each over a mile long and covered with a reflective material, without any visible seams. Experts are unable to find anywhere a window, door or landing structures would extend from, nor can they determine any obvious means of propulsion.
“We go now to Dr. Neal Chen of Nottingham University, lead Xenobiologist and expert in first contact meetings. Dr. what can you tell us about your expectations of their arrival?”
“Thank you, Tom. I wish this were under more fortuitous circumstances.”
“This is a monumental discovery, Dr. Can you explain that comment?”
“Well, some of my colleges are of the mind that any civilization, even a far superior one, wouldn't travel the vastness of interstellar space with the intentions of starting a war.”
"But, what is your perspective on the situation, Dr.?"
"My perspective is that the Native Americans thought the same as my colleagues when Columbus pulled up to their shores. History has proven that technological superiority is in no way equal to moral superiority. If these visitors are advanced enough to travel the unimaginable distances between stars, it's likely they won't pay any more attention to us than we pay to the squirrels in the trees that we harvest for our own benefit."
“Are you suggesting a military response, then?”
"No, Tom. If they are as advanced as they would have to be, any show of force would only lead to the extermination of the human species."
“That's quite a dark outlook, Dr...” Terry turned off the TV and it all clicked to black.
“That is the last thing I need to hear about, before work.” He put his cereal bowl and spoon in the sink and rinsed them off. “What do you think will happen, Spot? Spot? What are you doing over there?”
Spot the cat was enthralled with something in the back yard. His black and white patched fur was puffed out with anxiety and his ears were locked forward to give whatever it was his full attention. He stood on his back feet and craned his body to see out the screen door.
“Spot? Spot what's out...”
Spot turned his ears back and gave a deep, guttural growl at whatever it was, before hissing and running away from the door.
“Spot? What's going...”
The backdoor crashed open, flying off its hinges and into the house. A seven-foot-tall being fell in after it. It clutched the door frame with a grayish-green hand with four thick, flat fingers. Its head hung down and pulled back up, revealing two giant eyes, the color of amethyst. A broad mound between them where a nose would be ended in a row of walrus-like whiskers. It was dressed in some white outfit that looked like a uniform and covered most of its body. Thick yellow blood poured from its chest.
"Holy!" Terry exclaimed as he tried to help the creature to his couch, putting his shoulder under its arm. "It'll be okay, buddy. Let's just get you over here to lay down. Julie! Julie get your ass down here!"
Julie ran down the steps, still wrapped in her bath towel. Her short, dark hair was still wet, toothpaste clung to the corner of her mouth. “What the hell is that?”
“I don't know, but he's bleeding from his chest. I'm trying to get him on the couch. Turn that light on.”
“And then what?” she asked, astounded.
“You're a nurse, right?”
“Of humans, yeah. That's... what is that?”
"I'm sure it's all the same."
The creature opened its mouth and spoke, “Unda clrostini bussni...” and then trailed off.
“Buddy, if that means 'tell my wife I love her' wait till you meet mine. She's the best ER nurse ever. You'll be fine.”
“Okay, get out of the way. Get me the rubbing alcohol and the first-aid kit from the kitchen. Go!”
"Stunniti relim consss..." the creature said as he flailed his arms. Its amethyst eyes were starting to lose their brightness. "Cornitha palrus!"
The two of them managed to stop the bleeding and bandaged up the creature. Julie gave him painkillers and sedatives to let him sleep. Soon, the seven-foot-tall alien snored loudly while laying on their couch. His feet hung well over the armrest. His yellow blood soaked into their rug and smeared over their walls and dining table. It smelled of something rotting in a forgotten trash bag.
"Do you think we should've let it use the comforter that Aunt Cindy sent, last Christmas? There's no way we're getting that yellow blood to wash out," asked Julie.
"I won't tell her if you don't," said Terry. He couldn't help staring at the size of the alien's head, compared to his. It took up most of the pillow it was laying on.
“We need to get him to a hospital. There's no telling what kind of damage he could have on the inside.”
“Have you been watching TV? They're more likely to just let him die so they can cut him open to study him.”
“And how is that worse than him slowly dying on our couch?” She took his hand and rubbed his shoulder. “I know you've always wanted to have a space alien friend, but there's nothing else we can do for him.”
“He could get better.”
“And if he doesn't? I can't do anything else for him, here. He needs a hospital.” She spoke in the softest of feathery voices, something she did when she needed to convince Terry that he just had to accept the reality of things.
Terry nodded his head and looked down at the alien sleeping on his couch. He felt its hairless, moist skin. He listened to its deep, rhythmic breath and had no idea if either was normal. “Okay,” he said. “You're right. Call 9-1-1 and let's get him to a hospital.”
Julie grabbed her cell phone from the counter and unlocked it.
“No!” the alien exclaimed, reaching out its four-fingered hand. “No...” It searched for the words. “No... 'thority.”
"You do speak English," said Terry. "What do you mean..."
“No 'thority!” repeated the alien, looking at Julie, its amethyst eyes as bright as lighthouses.
“He's saying he doesn't want to go to the hospital because the authorities will get involved. Right?” She looked at the alien.
It made a rolling hand gesture and looked like it smiled, then let its head fall back down to the couch, asleep.
“Well, there we go.”
“If he takes a turn for the worse, I'm calling an ambulance, no matter what he says,” Julie said, putting down the cell phone.
The alien slept on the couch with his legs hanging off the end for the rest of the day and all through the night. Terry and Julie stayed by his side, making sure he kept breathing. They called off work and canceled Game Night with their friends, telling them they were sick with something contagious. They ate meals and watched movies on the floor, in front of the couch that he slept on. The alien kept breathing deeply and rhythmically, adding a sense of calm to an unbelievable situation.
The next morning, Terry sat in front of the couch, his plate of scrambled eggs and toast with peanut butter sat on the coffee table. He turned the TV to CNN as the commentator described the alien spacecraft arriving on Earth.
"You're looking at live coverage of one of the craft hovering over the Capitol building in Washington D.C. At this point, it still hasn't been confirmed whether or not the craft are piloted by any biological intelligence or if they're controlled by AI. No communication has been received by any of the craft and they have as yet to respond to any attempts to communicate with them. They're simply hovering over the capital buildings of their respective cities. As you can see from the video, the craft are teardrop in shape and covered with some reflective surface. They have been confirmed to span over a mile in length and half that in height. And to reiterate, none of them have made any attempts to respond to communication attempts. So, their intentions are still unknown.
“We go now live to a press conference called by the President...”
“They come for me,” said the alien on the couch. His voice was cavernous. His mouth did its best to make English sounds but still sounded like he was chewing on something.
“You're awake!” noticed Terry. “Julie, get down here!” He turned to the alien on his couch. “What's your name? Who are you? How do you speak English? How did you get hurt? Where are you from? Who're...”
The alien put up his four-fingered hand. “One at a time.” He tried to sit up but only got as far as putting weight on his elbow before his injuries stopped him and made him yelp in pain.
“Easy,” Terry said, helping him to lay back down. “You were hurt pretty bad, yesterday. I don't know your metabolism but from the way you looked, you'll probably need a couple days before you go trying to sit up.”
Julie came down the stairs and stopped mid-way when she saw that the alien was awake.
“What happened to uniform mine? I need it.” the alien said.
“It's over in the corner,” said Julie. “I'll get it.”
"Gratitude. It has a regenerator built into it. Space travel is dangerous." He took the uniform from Julie and turned it inside out, then pressed part of it to his chest. He found a button at the end of one sleeve and pressed it. A green light emanated from the part of the uniform that he held to him. Even with his alien features, an obvious expression of relief washed over his face. After a moment he said, "That's better," and stood up to his full height, dropping Aunt Cindy's comforter to the floor. The top of his head brushed the ceiling and he tried not to move too much to keep from punching a hole in it.
Julie and Terry stared wide-eyed at the naked giant. His hairless grayish-green skin glistened in the morning sunlight coming from the window.
“I told you, you'd appreciate the high ceilings one day,” said Julie to Terry, without taking her eyes off the alien.
Terry laughed a little at her comment.
“My name is Rid Leyscott,” he said in a voice like a hammer. “Gratitude for helping me. I must go, now. You are in danger if I stay here.”
“Rid... why? What's wrong? Is it because of those spaceships?” asked Julie? “Are they after you?”
“Yes. I am a fuj... feuj... I am wanted by my government.”
“Fugitive?” asked Julie.
“Yes, Fugitive. Gratitude. They followed me. When they attacked my vessel, the shrapnel injured me. I thought I could hide here, in this primitive society. No offense to you.” He spoke slowly and deliberately as he forced his mouth to make English sounds.
“No, it's okay. We must look like backwoods hicks, to you guys. What did you do that they chased you all the way out here for?” asked Terry. “Did you kill someone?”
“It was worse than killing. As I sat on the seat of the table of the Grand Chancellor during the dinner of Mochta... I... In a moment of distraction, I expressed digestive gasses. By doing so, I insulted the very meaning of Mochta.”
"Wait, you farted at a dinner? And you've been on the run for that? Just say 'Excuse me.' I don't see what the big deal is," said, Terry.
“Yeah, you wouldn't,” said Julie.
“Cut it out.”
“It is a disrespect, punishable by death on my world!”
“And that's what they've come out all this way for. Because they can't let an insult go unanswered,” said Terry, realizing the severity of Rid's problem.
“Yes. They will not stop searching until they locate me. When they do, they will contain me and they will execute me. If you try to stop them, they will kill you, too.” Rid's huge amethyst eyes diminished a little.
“I have an idea,” said Julie. “But you need to disappear for a moment, Rid. There's a patch of woods near here. You can hide there for a while. We'll tell you when it's safe to come out.”
Rid made a rolling hand motion and smiled in agreement.
Terry and Julie called the government and said they had the alien that the spaceships had been perusing. The government broadcast the message to one of the ships and within moments, several large uniformed members of Rid's species, armed with weapons the size of refrigerators, surrounded Terry and Julie's house, deep in the suburbs. A large crowd from the neighborhood gathered around to watch the commotion.
“Send out the convict!” ordered one of them in a deep voice, loud enough to rattle the windows of the house. “Or be destroyed.”
Terry walked out the front door and stood in front of the porch. He took a deep breath so he could shout, “You've come too late. We killed him.”
“You speak false! Exile him or we will ruin your dwelling,” said the same alien.
“I am no lier.” Julie threw him the comforter with all the yellow alien blood. Terry threw it open, onto the lawn. “That's his blood.”
One of the aliens picked it up and felt it with the wishers where his nostrils should be. “It's blood,” he confirmed.
The surrounding aliens gasped and muttered to each other.
“He tried to harm my family, so I had to destroy him,” said Terry.
“Locate his body?” asked the first alien.
“I told you! I had to destroy it.”
“What weapon? You have not the knowledge to destroy one of us.”
Julie threw him the blender. Terry held it up and proclaimed, “With this!” The surrounding aliens gasped and scurried out of the way, dodging where the blender was aimed. “I killed him and ground up his body to make food for my animals.”
“That is... Fratun. You didn't! You couldn't have!”
“Yes, I did! You underestimate our strength.”
The alien moaned and rubbed his whiskers with one of his four fingers. “You truly are a frightening people.”
“Sir,” said one of the aliens. “We should return. Because convict dead, no longer we have purpose.”
"Yes. Retrieve cloth and we will return." He turned to Terry and said. "Request to your deity that we will not meet afterward." Then, in a moment they were gone.
Moments later, to the cheering of some and the expectation of no one, all of the spaceships thunderously rose into the sky and left Earth, headed back to their homeworld. Hopefully, never to be seen again.
Once all the ships were gone and they decided it was safe, Terry and Julie found Rid in the patch of woods that they told him to hide in.
"Gratitude for your help," said Rid.
“It was a lot of fun. I'm glad we could help,” said Terry.
“Are you going to be okay?” asked Julie.
“Yes. My transport was easy.”
“The ship was fixable, you mean.”
"Yes, Gratitude." He began leading them to where his ship crash-landed, not far from where they stood in the patch of trees. They eagerly followed as one would knowing they would get to see an alien spaceship. It was parked in an abandoned field of butterfly weeds. Its square metallic hull made it look like abandoned farm equipment to someone who wasn't looking for a spaceship.
As Rid walked closer to the craft, the side of it disappeared. No doors slid to the side or extended like a ramp. The side of it just disappeared, unannounced by any sounds, mechanical or otherwise. On one step it was there, silver-gray and unreflective then on the next step, it was gone. Terry and Julie stared transfixed at the blinking and whirling amazement inside that they knew they couldn't possibly understand.
“Will we ever see you again, Rid?” asked Julie as they stood outside the craft.
“Yes,” said Rid. “I travel close often. I will come back, but not be bleeding.”
Terry and Julie laughed at what they hoped was a joke.
“I'm glad we were able to meet you,” said Terry, extending his hand to be shaken.
“I also am glad,” said Rid. He extended the tendrils on his head in respect to Terry's hand. Then he turned around and boarded his ship. The side of it appeared again as if by magic. As Terry and Julie stood back, the craft rose into the air and departed the Earth's atmosphere.
“You know, I think they stole Aunt Cindy's comforter,” said Terry.
“I won't tell her if you don't,” replied Julie.