Transparent Conflict - part 1

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Write a story in which a window is broken or found broken.... view prompt

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Adventure Fantasy Science Fiction

TRANSPARENT CONFLICT – part one

It was like nothing she had ever experienced before. Huge rocks crashing into cars, buildings, buses, traffic lights, all while she watched helplessly from the office window. When the initial shock wore off she backed away from the huge glass structure and ran into the hall where she observed people running without a destination, huddled in corners, or crying into each others embraces. What she didn't see was anyone she recognized.

Alina knew one thing for sure –That here was not the place to be. She headed for the stairwell and found herself faced with yet another dilemma-up or down. She was on the third floor of a six story building, one of the tallest in the small town. She tried to think straight, which was difficult in all this pandemonium. Up would take her to the roof which just might increase her chances of being a target of one of the monstrous boulders destroying everything in their path. Down would take her into the scene she had just been witnessing from the office window. Neither seemed a good option. She closed her eyes and tried to think what would be best. She chose down, as in the movies everyone always ran up and then were trapped by whoever or whatever was chasing them. This was not exactly the same scenario, but the logic still, somehow, seemed to apply.

She arrived on the first floor just in time to see an immense stone crash through the front window of the building, scattering glass across the lobby. People instinctively raised their arms to protect themselves from flying glass. Some were able to, others weren't so lucky. Fortunately the behemoth didn't roll far into the building, but sat there almost daring someone to approach it. That somebody was a slight woman with wavy red hair and deep blue eyes. She extended her hand and almost touched it when a man rushed over and grabbed her pulling her away from the large gray-colored intruder.

“No!” he screamed. “It might be radioactive for all we know”.

“Or maybe it's poisonous” Added a man carrying a cup of coffee. “Someone said they saw one of them right here in our building. It might paralyze us so they can take us back with them.”

“Here?” screeched a lady in the crowd. “What did it look like?” 

“Not quite human, but very ugly. Disgusting”

“Who actually saw it, where was it?”

“Just disgusting, I tell you”.

Alina was a bit separated from the crowd and liked it that way. They were getting hysterical and she knew that could prove to be very dangerous. She ran until she found a door ajar and went inside. It was a huge room with many chairs lined up against the walls and two rows in the middle, one facing each way. A waiting room, she decided. That's what it appeared to be. For a doctor perhaps, or a dentist, but she could only speculate as to it's purpose because aside from the chairs and a few tables with magazines on them it was empty. She had chosen well when she picked this door.

After a few moments she decided that she might be found sitting in the room with the door to the big corridor, so she went to one of the smaller cubicles in the back of a long hall. She just wanted to go home and have this horror be over. But she knew that she was in as much danger of being trampled by the mob in the lobby as she was of being hit by what probably was a flying fragment of a meteor. She wasn't supposed to be here today at all, and now she was being punished for being stubborn and insisting on checking out a few things down here. At least that was the way it seemed to her. She could have, and most assuredly should have, stayed at home when she was told there might be a danger.

But she had always been obstinate, even as a little child. Her parents often told her that. Oh if she had only listened this morning. Now she was in a strange place and they were being bombarded by a meteor shower and there was also the possibility of some sort of alien invasion if she were to believe the crowd. 

She could hear the sound of sirens outside and assumed it was the police coming to control the crowd or an ambulance coming to help the wounded. To her it was an almost pleasing sound as if it signaled the beginning of the end of her ordeal. Sitting there alone in the small room she thought of all the other things she could have done today. All of which would have kept her safe.

Her mind wandered to a time not so long ago when her family was on vacation and she attempted to lose herself in the peaceful feelings of that day. Sunning on the sands of Soljar Beach was a comforting memory and one that she tried to hold on to as long as she could.

Suddenly she heard the sounds of heavy footsteps in the hall and tried to squeeze herself into as small a space as possible. But that wouldn't stop them from finding her if they came in here. Her beautiful golden wig started to slip and she quickly and deftly adjusted it until it again looked like she had been born with golden curls. She loved this wig and the way it made her look, she didn't dare to think what would happen if someone saw her without it. What would the person feel – pity, fear, disgust, or some other feeling that these people had that was as yet unknown to her. No, she told herself, think about the beach, think about the beach...

She heard the waiting room door slowly opening. Not being pushed violently as she expected from the harsh footsteps she had heard in the corridor, but tentatively as though someone were afraid of what was on the other side. She listened and found herself unintentionally holding her breath. She heard someone walking slowly down the hall trying the doors to each cubicle as they went. Finally the faint footsteps stopped outside the last door, her door, the door to her hiding place. She gasped as the door slowly opened.

Standing before her was a girl who was about her height. She put a finger to her lips.

“Shh. It's okay, I know.” She grabbed a piece of her blond hair and held it out from her head. “See, I know. I'm one of you.” Now the girl got down on the floor and sat next to her. She pulled up her sleeve revealing what looked like a small tattoo of some sort of plant. “See.” she said as though that explained everything. “Check your arm.” Alina already knew the same marking was on her arm, but she rolled up her sleeve anyway.

“But how can you be?” the girl asked her. “When did you escape? How did you get here?” When Alina didn't answer right away she continued. “I'm Lulyn, what are you called?” She stood and extended her hand.

“I..I'm Alina” she mumbled back taking Lulyn's outstretched hand as she stood up next to her. “But I didn't escape. I ran away to explore. I don't know how all this happened. What did you escape from?”

“Them” she answered pointing up. “Them” She choked back a sob. “Then you don't know about the takeover?”

“Takeover? Of what, by whom. Tell me” She almost raised her voice as she said these words and caught herself in time to avoid being heard by anyone outside of the small room she stood in.

Lulyn sat back down on the floor and motioned for Alina to do the same.

“The Ozoids” she struggled to talk. “They came this morning and took over the ship. Everyone is captured and locked away” She paused. “But us”.

Alina thought of her family, her friends, everybody she knew, as prisoners. She started to cry softly.

“Now it's all up to us,” Lulyn continued. “Don't you see we've got to rescue them. We have to. There's no one else”

“But us” Alina finished for her. “But if you didn't run away in the morning before everything happened, the way I did, how did you get here?”

Her new friend told a rather annimated story about being alone in the observatory when the crisis began and finding a lone exploratory pod used for scientific missions. She quickly made use of the pod and jettisoned down to the planet beneath them. She found the wig in the pod and put it on to cover the green fuzz which grew there and the two small antennae in the middle of her head. The instruments picked up the trail of another transport from the ship and she followed it hoping to find a group of escapees like herself. When all the information picked up by the pod sensors indicated it was an individual hopper pod, she knew that all she could hope to find was one other like herself. If they hadn't been caught yet by the people of the planet. 

Their mission was peaceful – to make a connection with the people of this planet who seemed very similar to themselves in many ways. When the Ozoids came by with the express purpose of attacking the planet and enslaving it's people, things got complicated. 

The two girls were the only ones who knew exactly what was going on. The rocks weren't meteors at all but huge weapons sent by the Ozoids. Now their mission was to find and convince the natives of this planet what was happening and enlist their aid in overcoming the Ozoids. 

“But there's only two of us,” complained Alina. “How will we get them to listen to us? How can we get them to take us seriously?”

“I know of one way,” Lulyn said suddenly. “It just might work. But then again it might be a little dangerous. We take off our wigs”

“And scare them into thinking that we are part of the invading forces?”

“I'll admit it's risky... But do you have any better ideas?”

Alina sighed “I have no ideas at all I'm afraid”

“Well, then, I guess we go with my suggestion. Agreed?”

Alina closed her eyes for a moment and contemplated what she was about to do. Then she thought of her home ship enslaved in orbit above them and she knew that it must be done.

The two girls straightened their wigs and crept slowly back to the lobby looking just like everyone else who was there. They wasted no time in finding a man who looked to be retaining at least a bit of his sanity. He was sitting crossed legged on the floor with a computer in his lap, typing rapidly. His companion, who looked a little less together but sane enough for their purposes, was kneeling near him snapping pictures with a hugh camera with a very long lens. 

They approached the one with the computer.

“Could we talk to you for a moment?” Lulyn asked the man as he kept typing at breakneck speed. “We need to tell you something important.” she finished as he looked up with an annoyed expression on his face.

“We're not sharing our stories or our pictures, so bug off” So much for him being holding on to his sanity she thought to herself but continued.

“We don't want anything of yours. We just want to tell you something. Please!”

“We may need your help and you may need ours” piped in Alina. “Please just give us a moment of your time.”

“Okay,” said the man with the computer. “You've got my attention. So talk”

“No!” The girls screamed in unison.

Alina added “It has to be in private”

By this time they had the attention of the camera man as well. He came over and looked at the girls but didn't say a word.

“What do you think, Jerry?” asked computer man. “Should we speak with them in private.”

Jerry grinned “Why not?”

Computer man stood up and brushed off his suit. “But only a few minutes. That's all.”

The two men found it strange that these girls wanted to talk to them so desperately. Their curiosity was at a high level now, so they followed the girls back to the cubicle where Alina had hidden. Once inside the girls whispered to each other and then Lulyn spoke.

“We don't want to alarm you,” she began. “But we're going to tell you something that you won't want to believe. You have to trust us. We can back up everything we say. You just have to give us time.” 

“Go on,” said computer man, obviously getting impatient.

Alina picked it up from there. “Those weren't meteors outside. They were weapons of a group of people called the Ozoids” Jerry started to laugh but she continued “We're from a peaeful planet come here to make contact and share information. The Ozoids took over our ship this morning and enslaved all our people. Their intention is to do the same with you. Help us prevent them from taking over your planet and get our ship back.”

Jerry laughed again and computer man spoke.

You said you could prove all this. So prove it. He crossed his arms across his chest and waited.

The girls looked at each other. 

“One, two, three” they counted together. At three they ripped off their wigs revealing their hairless heads covered in green fuzz with two small antennae in the center. Jerry was no longer laughing and computer man went over to them and examined their antennae. 

“Looks real enough” he commented to no one in particular. “But just supposing you're on the level, what is it you think we can do to help you?” 

“Take us to someone who can help. Show us where to go and who to speak with. Can you do that?”

He looked at Jerry who had a wide-eyed expression on his face. Then back to the girls. 

“Okay, but you've got to promise us that you won't give this story to any other reporters. Deal?

“Deal.” the girls answered in unison.

“Now who are you taking us to see and talk to.” asked Lulyn. Computer man smiled and straightened his tie.

“First things first.” he began “ First of all you are to put those wigs back on and never, ever take them off again without my permission. Second you are to play it my way and follow my rules. Trust me I know what I'm doing. And third no unauthorized conversations with anyone. Is all that understood?”

Alina cleared her throat. “What's clear is that you want a good story for your newspaper. We want to save two civilizations from being taken over by the cruel and powerful Ozoids. We seem to be at odds as to what the outcome of this little adventure should be. We won't tell any other reporters what we told you as long as you keep your end of the bargain and take us to someone in a position to help us. Then you'll have your story and we'll have our help against the Ozoids. It's pretty simple really.

Jerry finally spoke, “She makes sense, Boss. We don't want to be picking any fights with two creatures with antennae on their heads. For all you know they could zap us right now and just like that we'd be gone.”

Lulyn wanted to explain once again that their people were on a peaceful mission but decided to let Alina's powerful words stand on their own. As she looked at the one Jerry had called Boss she could tell he was thinking it over.

“Okay, okay” the one called Boss said through gritted teeth. “We're in this together and what benefits one benefits all. Same for anything that hurts one of us.

After the girls had nodded their approval the two men told them to follow them and try to keep a low profile. 

“Do nothing to call attention to us. Nothing!” Boss quipped as he led them out of the building. They had to climb through a broken window to make their exit and it wasn't the easiest departure any of them had ever made. Once outside they huddled in a group. 

“Now what”? Asked one of the girls. Not wanting to admit that he had no clue, Boss made a clearing noise in his throat but didn't follow it up with any words.

“Yeh, Boss,” added Jerry, impatient for some sort of action to start. He had his camera ready to go at a moment's notice.

Boss shuffled his feet, dodged a leftover remmant of flying rock, and spoke. “ I've decided we go straight to the governor. No use messing around with these small town guys who have no real influence. We're starting at the top.” Since the girls had no idea what he was talking about they had no choice but to accept what he said and follow along with his plan, To them home was a million miles away and the possibility of winning over the Oziods seemed vague at best.

Just then a sound like thunder echoed around them. Jerry and Boss looked at their surroundings in bewilderment but Ariana and Lulyn knew exactly what it meant. The Ozoids were here.

June 09, 2021 15:36

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