So the decision was made. The Security people began to get ready.President Beshirch made a phone call to the station.“I want to speak to General Arden,” he said.When the General was put on he asked.“Can your ship land here?”
“The mother ship cannot,” the General told him. “It will hold its position right where it is.But my personal shuttle can land on the planet almost anywhere you tell us to land.”Then he brought up something that might be a bit of a sticky subject.“I would like to bring some escorts with me.Also I expect that some of your aeronautical scientists would like to study the construction of our ships.That is permissible as far as we are concerned.”
“That’s extraordinary,” the President said. “That is far more then what we’d ever hoped for. I will contact you again when we have an area for you to come to.”
It was a few hours before he called back. “We have an area that we can secure in our western desert,” the President said.“We have begun flying our world leaders there.I and my family will join them shortly.The people at the space station can pull up 3-D maps of the area so you can see any obstacles that you have to deal with.To prove that you are on a peaceful mission, why don’t you bring your son with you.”
The pilots were shown the co-ordinates for a place in the western desert. There were some mountains around and then a landing strip.Then there was a bunker.That was where they went.President Beshirch brought his family with him.
The General had meetings with the world leaders in the bunker. There Alexander sometimes acted as Aide- de- Camp.While they were gone, some people from the Lizbet visited the space station and vice- versa.Dr. McInnis and Dr. Jashan finally got to meet and talk a little medicine together.
Alexander dawdled the President’s young son on his knee while the General and the President were speaking with each other. He marveled at how much the infant looked like an earth chimpanzee.He reminded himself that all resemblance ended there.This child was much more intelligent and his hands were different, with the fingers much more articulated.He also spoke a few words when he choose to.Sgt. Jones stood near him; ready to help with the childcare duties if it was necessary.The child’s mother was assisting in the discussions with the General.
“General Arden, we know that your people are much more technologically advanced then we are,” the President said. “Just how much of that technology are you willing to share with us?”
“Well that depends on a great many things,” the General said. That caused a look of concern on the Presidents face.He wanted to get as much technology as he could for his people.“We will be happy to share as much of our life saving technology as we can.We will also be happy to share ship designs and the like.”
“What about weapons?” Mrs. Beshirch asked. “As you may or may not know, we have recently come through a war a terrible war.We would not want to see another one happen any time soon.What guarantee do we have that you will not give other countries weapons with which they can destroy us.“
“I hope that now you see why we wanted to meet with all your world leaders and make the minutes of this meeting available to them,” the General said. “We went through such a period on our world.We eventually decided that the prosecution of war was counterproductive and determined on a course of peace from which we have not deviated.We would like to encourage your people to do the same, but we will not force it.We no longer build such weapons.”
When the Lizbet was scheduled to leave the people were told about it in their local papers. It showed where the Lizbet was, that doughnut shaped thing in the sky that they had all come to recognize in the last few weeks.It showed the track that the ship would take out of their system.It also gave details of the send off ceremony and informed the people that the winners of the National Science Fair were invited to the ceremony and may even be allowed to ask questions of the aliens.
Leaders from several countries were on the field where the Grapevine and the Mashie stood beside the larger shuttle from the Lizbet .Workers had place a podium there with a microphone and a reviewing stand at a safe distance.First the leader of Eusia, which had been hosting the humans for the last few days stood and made a short good-bye speech.
“Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,” President Beshirch began. “I have come here today to say good-bye and hello.Good-bye to people who have become my friends over these past few days, and hello to a new era for our people.General Arden, Evander, you leave us now to continue your epic journey.But you have brought to us a new era.Many of my people believed firmly that the heavens were peopled by beings that would be friendly to us.We are pleased to see that this is true.We will take the lessons that you have taught us and put them to good use.We have deter -mined to contact your people in the way that you showed us to do.Our space exploration industries are already tooling up and making alterations to our ships in accordance with what you have given us.Our diplomats are already studying your language as you did us the honor of learning ours.When other peoples of the space faring union that you mentioned contact us and come here, we will have people ready to go with them.We thank-you for contacting us and wish you well on your journey.”
“Thank-you President Beshirch,” General Arden replied. “And I would like to thank your people for their hospitality shown to me and to my son and my people.For my part, I must say that we are pleased to find a world at peace with each other.This is one of the most important prerequisites of member ship in the Union of Species that we represent.The benefits to be enjoyed from this are great, and I believe that I speak for all members when I say we will welcome your representatives.”
Then it was time for the question and answer period. One of the young winners of the Science Fair stood and asked this question, “Why do you need to travel back and forth to your mother ship in a shuttle?Why don’t you just ‘zap it up’?You know, ‘Zap it up Choso.’”
One of the adults explained, “He is referring to a popular science fiction show in which the heroes zapped back and forth to their ship and then flew off to another planet.”
“We are familiar with the concept,” Alexander took the podium now. “We too investigated the idea of energy- matter conversion.The conversion of matter to energy is easy.We, like yourselves, do it every day in our digestion of food.But the conversion of energy to matter is much more difficult.We have not succeeded in doing so yet, and we have come to believe that it is not possible to do so outside the body.By the way, what was your win in?”
“Chemistry,” the young male answered. “I showed the measurements of a chemical change and how it sometimes went faster with certain catalysis and slower with others.It took many weeks but I was told that I showed a more efficient way to manage the change that scientists had not thought of.”
“We look forward to hearing more about this young man in the future,” the President said. “For now I’m afraid that it is time for our guests to board their ships and leave us.”
That was clearly the signal. The humans executed a salute, first using the motions that the ape like Arvorians thought of as a salute.That was placing the palms of their hand flat on their foreheads then raising it to a height of about two inches before dropping their hands to their sides.Then they executed the human equivalent, with the edge of their fingers to their foreheads along their eyebrows with the other fingers of the hand hard against the pointer finger.The President did his best to return it.Then each crew reported to their various ships.After a preflight check, the shuttle took off, followed by the Grapevine and the ‘Mashie‘.