Deep in the dark depths of outer space on a planet called Zygot lived a teen alien named Ashley Davies—who was currently annoying the crap out of her father Raife.
A small whine ripped through Ashley’s throat. “But dad I really want to go!” she said, tugging on her father’s rubber spacesuit.
“Please!” She added for good measure.
Raife rolled his eyes. For the past hour and a half, his daughter had been begging to be transported to that God-awful planet. He released a sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Ashley, why do you want to waste your time going to planet Earth? There really isn’t much, for our kind, down there.”
Ashley looked down at her rubber-covered shoes—rubber is all the rage on planet Zygot. She peeked up at her father bashfully. “I want to find something I can’t find up here,” Ashley said.
Raife eyed his daughter with suspicion. “And what would that be?”
Confidence slipping away with every passing second, Ashley could only shrug in response.
Raife crossed his arms over his muscular chest, raising an intimidating eyebrow. “Ashley Danielle 546 2733 55700 Davies, I asked you a question. I will not be ignored.”
Oh no. It was never a good sign when her dad used her full birth name. She had better answer now or she’ll be in deep shit, and unfortunately, on this planet, that’s taken literally.
Ashley cleared her throat. She nervously met her dad’s hard stare. “I want to find what humans find. I…I want to find love, daddy.”
Raife’s face turned red with anger. “You want to mate with a human?” he yelled with disgust. “You can’t be serious!”
Ashley shook her head. “It’s not just mating, daddy.” Her eyes lit up as she continued, “I was in the Zygoteria yesterday when I overheard two aliens talking about it. By human definition, love means a profoundly tender, passion for another person, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection.” Ashley smiled, clasping her hands together. “Love sounds wonderful, daddy!”
Raife scoffed at his daughter’s words. “What’s wrong with our female species? You can’t find this ‘love’ you speak of with your own kind?” He placed his hands on his hips, watching her expectantly.
Ashley’s scrunched her face up with disgust. “Daddy, everyone here is like family to me! I don’t want to mate with one of our own!”
Unlike the other occupied planets in space, Zygot was small. Not as small as Pluto and those damn Plutonians though—by all accounts, that particular planet is full of stuck up jerks. The Zygot planet wasn’t a breeding ground for incest or anything like that, but the mating pool was tiny and not that appealing. Every Alien knew every Alien’s business and the gossip could give even the trashiest magazines a run for their money.
Raife sighed, giving his daughter a sympathetic look. “Ashley, you know nothing about the human world. It’s a lot more dangerous down there then it is up here. You could easily get yourself hurt.”
Ashley’s brow furrowed with confusion. “Daddy, my strength is two times that of an average human. They are physically incapable of doing such a thing to me.”
Raife shook his head. He pointed at Ashley’s chest where her two hearts were located, “I mean here, Ashley. Your hearts could get hurt so badly that it wouldn’t compare to any physical pain you’ve ever endeared.”
Ashley grasped her father’s hand gently in her own. “I won’t get hurt daddy, I promise.” She smiled up at him. “I’m eighteen zygots old. I think it’s time you let me start handling things on my own.”
She had a point. Although eighteen was considered young on Earth, in outer space it was the opposite. All Aliens flew the nest at eighteen. Nest, of course, is the slang word Aliens used to describe their space ship. In other words, when an Alien turned eighteen they get to operate the controls and fly the nest. It was a huge responsible with incredibly strict rules such as, no texting and flying.
Raife sighed as he internally considered the pros and cons. “I don’t know, Ashley. You’re taking a big step. I mean one minute you’re my little Martian and then the next, you’re all grown up.”
Ashley smiled at that. “You know I will always be your little Martian right, Daddy?” She placed a comforting hand on his broad shoulder.
He nodded with a small grin. After a quiet moment, he released a shaky sigh. Raife gripped both of Ashley’s shoulders, looking her dead in the eyes. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?”
Ashley nodded resolutely. “I am.”
Raife stared hard at her for a long minute. Finding no traces of doubt in her eyes, he stepped back and nodded. “Alright, I give you permission to journey to planet Earth.”
Ashley jumped with glee. “Thanks, daddy!” She threw her arms around him and squeezed with all of her might, overcome with joy.
Raife grinned, returning the hug. Releasing her, he immediately got down to business. “Follow me,” Raife commanded, leading his daughter into his office where a large computer console stood.
“Computer!” He yelled.
Humans have Siri, Aliens have an all-knowing computer that can teleport you to other planets—at half the price too.
“Yes, Master.” It responded.
Raife crossed his arms. “Show me the solar system maps.”
His request was granted. “What planet would you like to view, Commander Raife?”
Raife cleared his throat, glancing at his daughter. She nodded encouragingly at him. He tried to keep the distaste out of his words when he said, “Earth please.”
The computer scrolled to the planet. “What country, Master?”
“Show me, USA.”
A map of the United States flashed before them. Raife turned to his daughter and looked at her expectantly. “Well Ashley, where would you like to teleport to?”
Ashley moved in front of the screen, staring with slight bafflement. The Alien was unfamiliar with human maps. Sure, young Aliens had studied them during Zygot High School, but humans were so difficult with how they split their land. Why couldn’t they live together as one? That’s what Aliens do on their respective planets. It cuts down on confusion.
Ashley scratched her head as she stared at the map. Everything looked like a square. “Um. I want to go here.” She said, pressing her finger against one of the longest shaped states
“You have chosen, California, the Golden state.” The computer said as it flashed pictures of the state’s flag, animal, and people. “What city would you like to choose?”
Looking over the list, Ashley bit her lip in concentration. “Los Angeles, sounds like a caring and loving town.” She thought aloud. “It even says it’s the ‘City of Angels.’ You can’t get more kind than that,” Ashley said, tapping that city.
“You have chosen Los Angeles, population, over twenty million. Founded in seventeen eighty-one. The city is also known as La La Land.”
Ashley giggled. “That sounds like fun.”
Raife grunted with a raised brow. “It sounds ridiculous. Where do humans come up with these names?” He shook his head. “Computer, show me a list of families who are hosts for a foreign student exchange program.”
“Loading family names … please wait.”
Ashley titled her head curiously. “Daddy what’s a foreign student exchange program?” They didn’t have those on Zygot.
“It’s a program where a student chooses to live in a foreign country to learn another language, culture, customs, and other things.”
Ashley nodded. “Why is it called an exchange?”
“They’re called exchanges because it’s a swap of students between different countries. You’ll be living with a family who will host you while their kid is being hosted by another family in another country.”
“Oh, I get it.”
Raife turned towards the computer. “All we have to do is pretend that you’re a foreign student, which technically you are, and slip you into a home.”
The computer finished compiling a list. “Which family would you like to choose?” It asked.
Not wanting to waste too much time, Ashley pointed at a random name that said ‘Carlin’. The computer chimed.
“You have chosen the Carlin family. Carlin family has five members. Spencer Carlin, age seventeen, Glen Carlin, age eighteen, Clay Carlin, age eighteen, Paula Carlin, age unknown, Arthur Carlin, age forty.”
Ashley nodded with a smile. “Sounds good.”
The computer screen placed a red target over the Carlin house. “Please, step onto the platform and prepare for your teleportation.” It said.
Raife stepped up to his daughter, halting her movements. “Now, Ashley, there’s no turning back from here, are you sure you want to go?” He gave her a hopeful look, silently wishing she’d change her mind.
Ashley squared her shoulders. “I’m positive.”
Raife pressed on. “Humans are a lot different from us. They have different customs and ways of life. Eating, drinking, driving…everything is different, do you understand me?”
Ashley nodded. “Yes I do.”
He sighed in response. “Alright.” Raife said as he reached into his pocket and handed Ashley a device she had never seen before.
Ashley stepped back slightly, not wanting to touch the strange plastic contraption. “Dad what’s this thing?”
Raife pressed the device into his daughter’s palm. “It’s called a cell phone; humans use it to communicate with one another.”
Ashley sniffed the cell phone, eyeing it curiously. After a moment, she shrugged and slipped it into her pocket, “What a strange way to talk to one another…”
“I’ve had the device modified,” Raife continued. “There’s a special button on the side that will allow you to correspond directly with me if you have to alright?”
“Okay,” Ashley said. She smiled up at her father and gave him a hug. “I’ll be fine, Daddy,” Ashley whispered. Taking a deep breath, she stepped on to the transmitter. As her body began to dissolve, she shot her father one last smile before disappearing completely.
Raife smiled sadly. “Good luck, my little Martian.”