The Voyage of the Lizbet

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8

Chapter 8

When the humans awoke on the space station, it was obvious that a decision had been made. First, each was taken to a small room with a table and two chairs in it.In each room, one of the ape beings in their surgical garb was sitting in one of the chairs.The escort introduced them by the simple technique of repeating the names that they had given when they introduced themselves the day before. Each ‘interviewer’ has a series of flash cards and each one turned on a microphone, which was sitting on the table.

When the ape being began showing Alexander the cards, he began to call out the names of them as quickly as he could. They had shapes at first, just like they had had the other day.Then they began to show him diagrams of atoms.Alexander began to call out the elements as quickly as he could.“Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, etc.”He got through quite a few of them, but he knew that he made one or two mistakes.After all he was a pilot, not a scientist.In other rooms, they were doing similar things.

In a short time, the PA system started speaking whole sentences. “Go to the bathroom,” it ordered Lt. Campbell.She got up and did it.The medics took the urine sample.

Back on the Lizbet , things were getting a bit difficult for Mareesha Jones. “Where’s my dad?” Arben asked for about the 100th time over dinner.“I told you,” she said, lifting a forkful of peas to her mouth, “He’s on a mission with Lt. Arden.”“But where?” Arben asked again.“I don’t know where,” Mareesha said. “Now eat your supper.”Arben pushed his peas around with his fork and picked up a bit of potato.“Hrumph,” he said.

“What is it now?” his mother asked.

“I just thought that we’d see more of him,” Arben said.

“I know,” Shawneesa commiserated with her little brother, “We all miss dad.” Then she volunteered the reason Arben was acting the way he was.“The kids in his class are having a father - son night tomorrow night.”

“And I can’t go ’cause dad isn’t here,” Arben said.

“Well I’m sorry about that,” Mareesha said, “But I am sure that there will be other father son activities that you and your dad will be able to go to.”

On the space station, things were improving. The humans had been allowed to change back into their uniforms and the ape people were no longer afraid that they were carrying any unknown illnesses or strange bacteria.They took off their masks but continued with the surgical garb.Then Alexander and the rest of the humans could see that there was a considerable resemblance between them and Terran chimpanzees.That was when they started to learn the human language and the humans began to learn their language better.

One of them introduced himself to Lt. Arden. “Hello,” he said in reasonable good English with a slight singsong manner.“My name is Dr. Jashan.”The humans came to understand that his manner of speaking had to do with the area of that world he was from.He began with simple sentences, “How do you feel?”

“Fine,” “Are you hungry?” “Yes, a little,” “What do you eat?” “We think the same kinds of food you do.”That last took a little while to translate, but it did get them some dinner.

Later on some other types of scientists went to the space station. These were psychologists and psychiatrists.There were also sociologists with them.They had copies of what was known of the aliens’ language to the point of launch.They wanted to learn about their psychology and society.The humans knew some others had arrived because there was some excitement when the shuttle landed.“What do you think is going on now,” Jabin asked Alexander.

“Don’t know,” said Alexander. “Could be just a changing of the guard.”

But that wasn’t it. Alexander and all the others soon found themselves peppered with questions that they had to work out new translations for.But eventually it did come out that they wanted to know about human social interaction.They used some flash cards to get some more translations.They got words for husband, wife, brother, sister, family, leader, speaker, friend, enemy.When they began to ask about families was when they learned that the mother ship existed and that she was coming.They also got the word occupation and discovered the occupation of these people.They were space explorers. They learned that Lt. Arden and Lt. Campbell were pilots; that 2nd Lt. Clearwater and 2nd Lt. Smith were pilots in training and that Sgt Jones and Sgt Collins were the crews of the two ships.Their main responsibility was the main -taince of the ships.The people aboard the space station who were pilots themselves automatically gravitated to the pilots.

It wasn’t long before all that conversation with the scientists began leading to friendships being formed. This naturally led to a little rivalry among the ape people, who called themselves the Arvorians.Humans and Arvorians started taking their meals together.It was not unusual to hear an Arvorian address a human in English and the human respond in Arvorian.

“Alexander,” Jashan said, in that sing song way of his. The tone said that he was glad to have mastered that much of the Alien‘s language.“We call this plant Dragon.It is the source of several of the medicines we use today.Do you think that your friend Dr. McInnis would like a sample of it?”

“I am sure that he would,” Alexander answered. “He is very interested in all such things.”Someone else wanted to speak to him.They all seemed to like Lieutenant Arden’s first name.His diplomatic skills were getting a real work out.

“Alexander,” Maribda called him. “What technique does your sister use to teach her older students?”

Jashan was a little annoyed that someone interrupted his conversation with the alien. After all, being able to speak to one lent a sort of status in their society.“His friend is a doctor,” Jashan said to Maribda.“His sister is a teacher,” she replied, just as annoyed.Cescar came in and added to the conversation.“Alexander,” he said.“Have you ever flown a craft like this?” He brandished a model of one of their latest designs.At that point, Jashan and Maribda both grew annoyed with him.The chatter was more than Lt. Arden could follow.

“A moment,” Alexander called out. “The Lizbet will be here tomorrow.Then you can meet them all.By then they will have received the translation and incorporated your language into their translation matrix.You will be able to talk to all of them.”

Almost immediately there was another news conference called on the planet, which the humans now knew, was called Arvoria. “We have been informed by our guests at the space station that there is a mother ship and this ship is coming here to meet us,” Professor Sidnorch announced.“They should be arriving sometime tomor -row.Since we do not know the trajectory they will follow or when they will arrive, we invite all our budding young astronomers out there to get out their telescopes, get to their best vantage point for viewing Space Station 1 and start watching as soon as it gets dark.Look for something large, round and silvery.” The news conference was broadcast all over the world with lesser known scientists giving some additional infor -mation: equipped with charts of the heavens, where space station 1 was in relation to the stars and the other space stations, where the two smaller ships were first discover -ed entering their system and where the Lizbet might reasonably be expected to enter the system.

And the Lizbet did not disappoint. She arrived within 12 hours of the news conference.Of course this was a coincidence.Telescopes all across the world watched it.The big ship slowed and finally inserted itself into orbit near Space Station 1.When Lt. Gen. McCoy indicated that they were in orbit the General boarded his personal shuttle.It was observed by 1000’s of telescopes leaving the mother ship and making the short journey to the Space Station.There it docked.

“Why did it come here?” Dr. Jashan asked Alexander.

“So the General and his pilot could undergo the physicals that you will, no doubt, demand of them.” Alexander answered.“Please extend your docking port for them.”That was done and the General was the first aboard the Space Station.

“Good Morning,” he said to the Arvorians in their own language. This surprised the people and made Alexander smile.-

“Come this way, General,” Dr. Jashan showed him to an examining room. Maribda commented, almost under her breath, “He looks like Alexander.”

“He should,” Lt. Arden said. “He’s my father.”

Jashan began the examinations. During a break he came out and asked, “When will we meet Dr. McInnis?”

“Meeting Dr. McInnis will be another story,” Alexander began to try to explain to them. Now that he’d learned a little more of their language he felt confident to discuss what the humans wanted to do next.“It depends on wither or not you are willing to undergo the same sort of physical examination that we underwent.”

Dr. Jashan and Maribda looked at each other for a moment and then back at Alexander. They nodded their heads vigorously.This was a move that it was quickly discovered meant the same thing to humans and Arvorians.As Alexander looked around the other Arvorians were doing the same.“Alright then,” Alexander said.“I shall inform them.”

With the Lizbet so close Alexander’s suit communications device worked. “Lt. Arden to Lizbet ,” he said after the beeping sound it made indicating that it was working.“Lizbet here,” the communications officer responded.“I have some people here who would like to meet Dr. McInnis,” he told her.“They told me they are willing to have him give them a complete physical.”

“Thank- you Lt.,” she said. “That is good news indeed.I will inform the doctor to expect them.”

“Very well Lizbet ,” he said. “Let me know when.”He nodded to Dr. Jashan.“They will call me back,” Lt. Arden told him.“You can continue with your examinations.”The doctor nodded and left.

On the planet yet another news conference was called. “We have been informed,” Professor Sidnorch was saying, “That two more humans have entered Space Station 1 and that they are undergoing physical examinations even as we speak.”He then answered questions for the next several minutes about what was known about these ‘Humans’.“We have the interesting situation that one of the two humans who have just boarded Space Station 1 is the father of one of the ones who was already aboard Space Station 1.This allows us a rare opportunity to study their genome and learn more about how they reproduce.I am told that there is a family resemblance.”

“A resemblance?” one of the reporters asked.

“The two males who are father and son actually look like each other,” the professor explained. That seemed to reassure some of the people.

On the Space Station, Alexander’s communicator beeped. “Lt. Arden,” he answered.“Dr, McInnis has indicated that he will be able to start the examinations in an hour.”

“Thank-you Lizbet ,” he said. “I’ll let my friends here know.”

When Alexander told them, some of the Arvorians flew around the Space Station, getting ready to go. When Dr. Jashan heard he was not at all pleased.He still had work to do and could not be ready in time.But the others were so Lt. Arden got permission from Gen. Arden and he piloted them to the Lizbet .He did, however, collect the plant sample that Dr. Jashan had wanted to send to Leech McInnis.

When their physicals were over, the Arvorians were given a tour of the ship. Maribda greatly appreciated meeting Jamie Arden and observing her class.

Then the next big obstacle came up that had to be negotiated. But that was the General’s job and he was the one that brought it up.“Now I want to talk to your leaders,” he told Dr. Jashan.

“I understand,” he said. “I shall have to see what can be done.”

He put in a call to President Beshirch. “The General wants to meet with you,” Jashan informed him.

“Yes, I understand.” the President said. “He is the commander of the mother ship.As such he is something like the ambassador of those Intergalactic Solar Systems you told us about.We would be glad to visit those representatives.I will prepare to take a shuttle to the space station at once.”

His security immediately objected. So did Dr. Jashan.“I believe that your health will not allow for that,” he said.“You had a heart attack just last year.Your doctor told you then that you would never be able to deal with the stresses of launch.”

“We could arrange a telephone call,” the security man in the background told the President.

“That would not be acceptable either to me or to him.” The president did not want to admit that secretly he had wanted to meet ali2nd Lt. since he was a child.“Would it be possible to bring him here?”

“We couldn’t guarantee his safety,” the security man said.

“Any more then you can guarantee mine?” the President asked, only half-serious. “Look, our people have recently given up war.That last war was so bad that we are still recovering from it 10 years later.We have done our very best not to allow any issue to come to a fight.Crime has been down in all of our cities each year for the last 5 years.I think that alone proves that we are a civilized people and that we are civilized enough to allow people who are so very unlike us to come and visit us.”He thought a moment and then said, “Dr, Jashan, I want you to put the question to him and see what he says.”

General Arden said, “It would be best if I could meet with all your world leaders.”

“We couldn’t possibly accommodate them all,” Dr. Jashan said.

“This is probably the most historical event that has ever happened to your people. It would be unfair to meet with just one or two leaders and have a chance to speak to them all and give them all a chance to ask questions,” the General replied.

“That is true,” Jashan said. He conveyed that information to President Beshirch.

“He’s right,” the President said. “He must come here and soon.If he doesn’t, it could foster the suspicion that we have done so much to reduce lately.”

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