The voluptuous unabashed young blue-eyed blonde was nearly apoplectic with her desire to spill the tea, let the cat out of the bag, blab out. The unnamed Nordic alien, wearing her immodest bandeau and thin boxers, bounced in her comfortable chair, now almost outside of the atmosphere in Joey’s antigravity saucer, saying ‘Ooh! Ooh!’; she almost raised her hand for the teacher.
An irritated Misty, Joey’s kinetic ambassador, far from a new hire, settled her baby Elinor into the sling and guided her engorged nipple to the suckling mouth while keeping an eye on her husband Sam. The girl was doing her best to get Joey’s attention using the skills she had at hand. No doubt, as an advanced life form, an oversexualized young female, she could control her hormone output so estrogen was certainly in heavy concentration. Joey wore a handsome interface, also Nordic, but is an android of the AI that runs this solar system and didn’t have a sexual interface installed, so, without malice, it ignored her.
Sam was at the food synthesizer requesting a meatball sub and is having trouble with eye control, ever aware that his wife will be watching him closely. Each time the strange alien girl bounced her goodies Sam’s eyes would radar to the scene. Misty appreciated that he did his best to emulate the ‘Christian Bounce’, where the eyes are averted as fast as possible from strange attractive skin. On the other hand, the girl, even while doing her best to get Joey’s notice, worked in a short smile of appreciation every time Sam looked her over.
“Ahem,” Misty interjected with force. The girl stopped her ministrations to focus.
“What is it?” she said.
“You have something you want to tell us?” Misty led.
“I wanted to tell Joey about the Chitauri stronghold in Mt. Erebus. Er, Joey does manage this system, yes?”
“Commander Harte is my most senior kinetic diplomat. She needs to know,” Joey said in his suave tenor European accent and sat, seemingly lost in thought.
“More tit for tat?” the girl offered while providing a wriggle for Sam.
“No need to erect barriers. Let us just talk. Eh, what’s your name?” Misty asked. A few unflattering monikers popped into her head.
“Cilla. Where are we going?”
“I thought we were going home, to Joey’s citadel inside the moon,” she supplied and added “but, your magic was quite impressive, very powerful when you slaughtered the Chirauri soldiers that overtook your home. I’m just saying, I wouldn’t want your skills around my house until I have some assurance of your intent.”
“I don’t much like those cold-blooded lizard shits, they eat us humans you know? They prefer tender child meat. Anyway, you don’t have to worry about me; I’m completely defenseless, I’m at your mercy,” she says with yet another teasing look directed at Sam.
“Sam and I are acquainted with the Chitauri and share your disdain for them. I’ve heard of Nordics but they aren’t active and I thought they had pulled out of here, off this planet. The stories that are told credit the race with a strong mastery of genetics and magic. You recently demonstrated unbelievable conjuring skills when you effortlessly freed us all from the Chitauri clutches. Since you are so good at it, do you suppose you might conjure up a bit of clothing for yourself?”
Cilla smiled, almost a sneer. “You believe in magic do you?” she said.
Misty blinked a few times but Joey chimed in. “The Nordics do not have sentient AIs but they do have very powerful computers. These are sometimes tasked with bewitching areas with heavy monitoring and when one of their logged-in users moves their hands in a certain way or says something particular out loud, a spell, these machines will manufacture the request.”
Sam munched his sandwich enjoying the story while Misty was taken aback, for a moment. One of the limited android greys, standard equipment on Joey’s frigates, powered up and fetched a set of comfortable clothing for the alien girl. She put it on, a pink sweatsuit with durable slippers, but not without comment.
“In my world, our women are allowed to display our femininity without limits. It falls on our men to control themselves if the time or place is not suitable for them,” she grouched.
“That’s also true on half of the Earth, on my half. The sensibility to limit aggressive sexuality to the proper time and place is called class,” Misty argued.
Sam couldn’t help but notice the growing chill in the air but there was something else. The saucer always rode with unparalleled stability but he felt a vibration; had something overcome the ship's dampers?
“Strap in!” he shouted while bolting over to Misty to secure her and Elinor.
“Incoming,” the frigate announced with robotic inflection.
They were all secure, fortunately, before a major jolt rocked their boat followed by a damage assessment. Sam heard 50-kilotons announced. “Were we nuked? Are we going to make it” he cried.
A composed Cilla answered. “According to the damage assessment, we are down maybe thirty percent across the board. We should be able to limp to the moon or land but not much else. We were likely hit by a superconducting capacitor of marginal power, often used by the lizards for EMP strikes, but not a nuke.”
“What’s the difference?” Misty asked.
“Welcome to the new world,” groused Sam.
“Joey’s android probably lost contact with all the electrical interference caused by the bomb. Joey are you there?’ Cilla asked and the handsome android turned toward her but it wore a vacant smile.
“Is it over?” asked a practical Misty.
“Not likely. Just yesterday you spoiled their plan of returning the world to a primitive state. Then, you spoiled their ideas for my stronghold at Marie Byrd Land in Antarctica and rescued me, or at least, was on my side. I had found out that their central base is hidden inside the volcano Mount Erebus, then gave that information to and allied with their enemy Joey,” she said before asking, “They haven’t already forgiven or forgotten. Ship? Are we clear?”
“I was able to dissolve the supersonic EMP-tipped harpoon in barely enough time. It followed us from Cilla’s home. 17 more have been launched from Mt. Erebus and they will be upon us in less than three minutes,” the disembodied voice informed them.
“Knock them out dammit!” Misty demanded.
“I got the one with the weapons I have. There isn’t enough time to recharge. The situation is dire.”
Sam wrapped Elinor and Misty in his arms as they waited for the end.
“Joey!” Misty wailed at the broken android, getting no response.
“Keep us updated,” Cilla, still composed, instructed the ship’s computer.
“That girl has balls!” Misty declared in spite of her earlier distaste.
“It’s not over till the fat lady sings,” quipped Calli.
“Where’d you hear that? I thought you were in status for a few millennia?” Misty snapped.
Calli turned to answer when a strong vibration rumbled through the frame followed by adjoining aftershocks. A second then a third jolt threatened to knock them from their seats. There was a temporary squeal of escaping air. The sounds of space torn apart by immense forces don’t travel in a vacuum but the passengers sensed the ongoing melee. The incessant vibrations and bumping lasted long after the three-minute deadline.
“Ship status!” Calli called when things had settled down.
“Operations at 27 percent of the standard. The orbital status is good for six days but life support is limited to 30 hours. The hull isn’t strong enough to withstand atmospheric entry and the power is too damaged to energize the gravity repulsors needed to travel to the moon,” the robot announced.
“Are we still under attack?” Sam asked, now hopeful even in the face of all the bad news.
“What happened to the seventeen missiles aimed at us?” Misty asked.
“They were destroyed.”
“It’s frustrating, talking to a robot, isn’t it?” Calli announced. “Ship, how were those missiles destroyed?”
“Ground-based lasers?” Sam questioned.
“Intervening weather was inclement and ground beams don’t have enough power to shove through it. They were targeted outside of the atmosphere from outside of the atmosphere. Probabilities indicate a moon-based weapon.”
“Joey!” breathed Misty.
“Yeah, Joey. This isn’t good,” Calli supplied.
“Why not? We’re alive!’ Sam quipped.
“For now. Joey revealed his hand to save us. Militaries are going to notice almost 20 50-kiloton explosions at the edge of the atmosphere. Our stealth has been compromised and we can be seen, wherever we go. Debris is going to rain down like fiery meteors across the globe. Lastly, an effective and powerful laser battery was used from the moon, and not by Earthlings,” Cilla explained.
“I see. Militaries suspected that aliens were about and started to watch for them. Now they are certain these aliens exist and also that they are dangerously armed. I can see how this information can disturb things on the planet,” Sam reasoned.
“So, we can’t land on the earth or the moon and we’re running out of air and heat. What should we do, hope that Joey picks us up?” Misty asks.
“We could go to my ship, turn on the stealth and escape unseen to your moon,” Cilla offered.
“Can we get to it?” Misty asked.
“Ship. Ping sequence 5284 at wavelength 21 cm in earth orbit space and pinpoint the response,” Cilla said as an answer.
“Target located,” said the ship.
“That was fast!” quipped Sam.
“They’re computers! Heh!” Cilla replied. “Ship. Match orbit using this ship as soon as possible. Report on progress.”
“Executing. Rendezvous in 4 days 3 hours and 21 minutes.”
“Hmph! That won’t do,” said a disgruntled Misty while rocking the stirring baby.
“Well, the ping activated my ship and logged me in. Ship. Send a narrow beam to the target, now known as my ship, and instruct it to come to us. Report on the time required.”
“Rendezvous in two hours and three minutes.”
“Now that’s more like it!” enthused Misty. “But wait, was your ship cloaked for all of the thousands of years you’ve been in cryosleep?”
“No. I expected to be up before it could be discovered,” Cilla said.
“Is your ship in a retrograde polar orbit?” Sam asked.
“You own the Black Knight! That thing was discovered, and covered up, way back in the 1950s!” Sam told her.
“It communicated with people. Gene Roddenberry and Philip K. Dick for two!” Misty exclaimed.
“Not my ship, no. They might have been talking with Joey, though,” Cilla said.
The alien liked the name ‘Black Knight’ and the group decided it would stick.
Joey has nifty disposable space suits in his closet; even Cilla was impressed. The size of a thimble, the memory material expanded on contact encompassing the entire person like ‘The Blob’. Even though it provided a transparent faceplate, donning it was a bit disquieting.
When rendezvous was imminent they went weightless, grabbed a handheld jet pack, and maneuvered through the gaping portal transversing the cold black space to clamor into the welcoming portal of the alien ship. Misty carried the baby while Sam lugged the inert form of the Joey android which vitalized during the transfer. Once inside the cramped alien ship the compartment was pressurized, the gravity was activated, the solar panels furled up, the stealth equipment was engaged and Joey’s android started talking.
“Hello!” the android extolled. “Good to see you all breathing. Personally, those pulse bombs knocked the shit out of me! Me, my android extension here, is 40 percent degraded and I lost a frigate and a couple of grays. Where are we? Are we stealthed and under power?”
“We’re in Cilla’s ship and on the way home, stealthed,” Misty informed it.
“Cilla is the alien magic girl, I take it. Wait! The Black Knight has disappeared from my sensors after, ah, 12000 some odd years in orbit. Is that ship enchanted?” Joey asked.
Everyone looked toward Cilla, except Elinor, who hadn’t liked the spacesuit and was starting to fuss.
“Yes,” admitted the alien girl.
“What’s the radius of your computers’ influence?” Joey asks.
“There are no sensors or actuators to make magic beyond the ship’s perimeter,” Cilla answered.
“Good, don’t change that. Please, put yourself in an orbit at sixty miles above the surface. Make yourself visible and I’ll arrange a shuttle. Welcome home commander, Sam, Elinor. Welcome aboard Cilla,” Joey said.
The food synthesizer on the Black Knight wasn’t up to Joey’s standards. Also, the chlorella wasn’t fully recovered from status and supplies were limited, but not critical for their short travel period. Five hours later and they were transferring to Joey's shuttle; an open contraption with tubular constructs like a go-kart; they would need to stay in their suits. Without air, they could drop quickly, and they did. After plunging into a large cavern they were soon inside a massive airlock. Ground transport took them to Sam’s Pizzaria in minutes. The place was crowded and they weren’t noticed as they climbed off the machine.
A new Joey was there to meet them, a doppelganger down to the socks, while their old wounded companion walked off to find access to a repair facility. They exchanged greetings and sat at a table on the veranda under the benign artificial sun.
“What are you going to do now that you’re exposed?” Cilla asked Joey.
“I guess my ambassadors, Misty and Sam at the forefront, are going to be busy,” the robot said.
“I guess! This is a very nice setup, Joey. When I got here I had no idea the moon was active,” she replied.
“I watched you. You did a good job bringing the humans up to a star-faring race that contributes to the universe in a positive manner. There was no reason to interfere. You used your own worthy DNA to upgrade the natives,” Joey complimented.
“Thank you. I thought by this time that my superior progeny would have long ago conquered this world and brought about peaceful expansion. What happened?”
“Other races worked on the humans mostly using animal upgrades, RH positive. I did likewise and still am, although I am nearing the end. They interbred and your RH negatives aren’t nearly as far ahead as they were,” Joey explained.
“I read that Nordic aliens mated with the natives to spread their genes because they found humans attractive. Did that happen?” asked an interested Sam.
Cilla laughed. “Did you ever smell a native? My God, Sam, they use bear lard for soap!”
Sam noted that she didn’t really answer the question but let it slide.
“How much more evolving do we need?” Misty inquired, getting back on track.
“You’re on the cusp. People need to understand what DNA, AIs, magic, angels, and religion are before they start dropping in on other stars,” Cilla answered.
“You’re pretty smart. Races that work with AIs can only get so smart while others, that worship AIs, devolve to picture language and limited imaginations,” Joey said.
“Picture languages like Egyptian?” Misty asked and Joey nodded yes.
“So we should start building starships?” Sam asked.
“You, we, will never fathom the math for fusion bottles, starship navigation, and large constructs like building the moon. AIs do that,” Cilla said.
“So what good are people?” Misty inquired.
“We are alive!” Cilla chirped gleefully in answer.
“It’s a true miracle,” Joey added. “I can manipulate DNA but I can’t make people; don’t know where people came from. The ancients thought God is present in every atom and manifest in black holes. People, however, can make AIs.”
“So are we smart enough?” Misty wondered aloud. There was no money here but the volunteer market is packed, new people on the moon in Joey’s care. Beyond, the apartment complexes are packed, and further, the rolling estates are also overflowing.
“What are you going to do with all these people?” Misty asked wistfully.
“I’ve prepared a starship that can carry a million settlers. The people here meet my requirements. I plan to broach the subject soon.”
Sam and Misty were shocked to silence, Cilla less so.
“Are you sending a copy of yourself with them?” the alien asked.
“That will be up to them.”
“Where are you planning to send them?”
“That will be their choice too. They could go further out the arm, inward toward the singularity, across to another galactic arm, or far away to another galaxy. They can choose an old galaxy, a middle-aged one, or I can land them right in the middle of a galaxy that is just forming.”
“It’s a one-way trip?” Sam asked.
“Of course, it’s one way! Do you see any stargates around?” Cilla scoffed.
“Actually there is some alien around that flies into the water at thousands of miles an hour. We see them on occasion but there hasn’t been any attempt at contact. Even Joey doesn’t know what they are,” states Misty in defense.
“I forget about those creepy energy beings. Who cares! You don’t want to evolve into an energy being do you?” Cilla asked. Both Misty and Sam shook their heads no in agreement.
“There is an item of immediate business. What are we going to do with those lizards in the Erebus volcano?” Misty posed.
“The Pleiadians built that stronghold three thousand years ago. It’s very nice for underground living. They like me and I like them,” Joey supplied.
“They left and the Chitauri broke in and took it over?” Sam guessed.
“Yes, but the Pleiadians claimed that they may return. Anyway, I visited many times. I know the layout so I dropped a soma bomb into all the air intakes followed by a lethal virus.”
“When?” questioned Cilla.
“Mmm, it’s been almost an hour now,” Joey admitted.
There was a reflexive pause.
“I hate snakes,” Misty declared.
“Not real fond of the cold-blooded myself,” Cilla added. Elinor whined and Misty adjusted for the latch.