{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Madcapmaggie would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Alien Encounter

By Madcapmaggie All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Scifi

Short Story



Alien Encounter
Of all the bad luck. Dan stared through the viewer at the other spaceship. The insignia on the hull, clearly visible, looked like no writing he'd seen before. Why had he expected anything else? The navigation equipment went wonky, they exited a wormhole into who-knows-where, and they ran straight into a meteor cloud. He'd spent the last two days with no sleep, nursing the ship through the cloud. His eyes burned, and his whole body ached. He turned to his second in command. “Jim, how are the engines?”

“Broken, Captain, sir.” Jim leaned over Dan's shoulder. “What the hell is that?”

“An alien ship.” Dan grimaced. The engines must be pretty bad if Jim was calling him Captain. “With our luck, they're probably hostile.”

“I doubt that. They're not disabled. They haven't hailed us or pointed anything resembling a weapon at us, and look,” Jim pointed one gnarled finger at the view screen. “They're sending over a lifeboat.”

“I'm opening the cargo bay doors for them.” Dan stood up. “Come on.”

The two aliens who exited their small vessel resembled giant, upright ants with long antennae waving on top of their heads. Both aliens stopped. They turned to each other, their antennae waving.

“Hell, they don't even speak,” Dan muttered.
“They're Andoids. The sounds they make are too high for us to hear. My grandfather used to tell me stories about them.”

“Great, just great.” Dan sighed. At least they were friendly. “Who the hell named them Andoids?”

“Got me.” Jim grinned.

One of the Andoids scuttled into their life boat and returned with a basket full of small objects. The whole thing reminded Dan of his grandfather's tool box. Maybe their luck was about to turn. “All right, Jim, go show them the navigation equipment and the engine.”

“But, sir, suppose they break something?”

“Unless a miracle happens, we're stuck here. What have we got to lose?”

Jim's frown and drawn-together eyebrows telegraphed his displeasure. He waved to the Andoid with the tool box, and he and Jim moved off. A short while later, Jim returned, trailed by the Andoid carrying the tools.

Dan shrugged and stared at the other Andoid. It produced a viewer and began to show a succession of pictures. Small, rolling hills covered with purple grass. A one-story building made of gray stone. The interior of the building, showing a cellar of some sort with rows of huge barrels. A couple of the Andoids squatting on their haunches in front of a table of some sort. Close ups of the objects on the table. A bottle, clear enough to read the label. Dan squinted at the screen. The Glenlivet 12 year old Single Malt Whiskey. The Andoid waved its antennas at them.

Dan turned to Jim. “Damn, Jimmie, they want whiskey. Hell, I'd like some myself. What now?”

#

Jim grinned. “Danny, my boy, they want to go into the whiskey business, but they need help with their formulation. Crrk, here, explained the whole thing to me.” Jim waved at one of the Andoids.

Dan stared at him. “You're delusional. They can't speak.”

Jim nodded. “Sure, but they can write.”

“Did they fix the navigation and the engine?”

“They fixed the in-system engines, enough for us to follow them to their planet. They don't have the facilities for a real repair out here.”

Dan sighed. “Damn, this has been one jinxed trip.” Maybe not for Jim, though. Brewing whiskey was a family tradition. Jim's grandad started out peddling moonshine back when they first settled on Jim's home planet. Then he'd gone on to build a distillery, one of the finest on any planet but Terra.

Jim stuck his hands in his pants pockets. “I wanted nothing more than to make whiskey, you know, but I was only eighteen when my grandad died, and my uncle sold the business.”

“Yeah, you told me. You used the money to pay for pilot training.” Dan grunted. “I hope they'll accept your help with this moonshine they're making in exchange for repairing our ship.”

#

Jim shook his head at the sour look on Dan's face as they followed Crrk into the cellar, which was lined with huge barrels made of --- . Jim stopped short. No way. Made of plastic? Huge, plastic barrels? What the hell were they thinking?

“Man, I can see two problems right away,” Jim said. “One, you need wooden barrels, preferably oak, and two, the smaller they are, the less time you'll need to age the whiskey.”

Crrk waved his antennas.

“I don't care how expensive the wood is or how much trouble it is to get it. If you want to make whiskey and not moonshine, you need wooden barrels. Small wooden barrels. Or large ones and more time to age your product.” They'd want to use native wood, which would affect the flavor.

Crrk's antennas waved faster and faster.

“Go on, then, bring out your whiskey, and we'll all have a taste.”

Crrk moved off, returning a short time later with another Andoid. After more antenna waving, Jim turned to Dan. “This is Tssk. He's in charge here.”

Tssk scuttled off and returned with a tray with four glasses and a bottle. Two bottles. One of the bottles had a label covered with what resembled nothing so much as bird tracks, the other had a familiar red and blue label with a field of grain in the background, the label his grandad had designed when he decided to market his own whiskey.

“Ha.” Jim said. “Get me another four glasses. We're going to perform a side-by-side taste test.”

Tssk returned with four more glasses, and Jim arranged two in front of each of them. Into the glasses on the left, he poured the alien's whiskey, and into the glasses on the right, his grandfather's.

Jim took a small sip from the left hand glass. He swirled the whiskey around in his mouth, then swallowed. In addition to the familiar alcohol burn, the liquor a slight flavor of licorice in addition to the more familiar caramel. The flavors hadn't yet blended properly, and the liquor was still harsh. They had to be using alien grains. Not bad, though, not bad at all. He sipped from the glass on the right, smiling as the familiar flavor of caramel filled his mouth. He nodded to the Andoids, who sipped from each glass in turn. Antennas waved back and forth.

“Of course, my grandfather's whiskey is smoother. It's properly aged, for one. You get me the barrels, small wooden barrels, and in a month we'll conduct another taste test. You'll see that I'm right.” He frowned. “What's the mix of grains you're using?”

“Just what am I supposed to do for the next month?” Dan asked. He gulped down the contents of the left hand glass, grimaced, and downed the other as well.

“Help them repair your ship.” Jim hesitated. He knew the whiskey would be good, better than good. It wasn't bad now, and aged in a small, wooden barrel, or even in a large one, it would be better still. He'd play with the mix of grains later. “And you can look for a replacement pilot. I'm going to be busy running a distillery. We'll corner the market for the whole quadrant by the time I'm done, or my name isn't Jim Beam.”


Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Madcapmaggie
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Tavis Ryan King: "What Happened to Charlie Carmine" is a fabulous mo-gee-toe cocktail fuelled midget orgy of psychology, fantasy and sarcasm. I laughed out loud when reading this novel so many times it made the London commuters I shared space with look at me with curious disdain - and I did not care.The protagoni...

Pablo Rojas: Love the story, at the end it is a western story, simple, yet giving hints and pieces of the situation that is happening all over ravencroft´s universe. easy to read and always keeping with the main stream story I want to keep reading about, Olafson´s adventures.

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...

Jennifer Kane Martin: I am a high school teacher, and the dialogue and inner thoughts are PERFECT. However, the lack of capitalization, punctuation, and the typos are distracting. Don't let these get in the way of a potentially good story.

Laraine Smith: This should be a movie! You are talented! It is that good! Keep it up! It is visual! It grabbed me! Don't give up!

Dina Husseini: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

More Recommendations

Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...

borkarprasad: Nicely laid story. Needed a little more ghost and Raven conversations. Initially, Had everyone on suspect list but satisfied by the precision to capture the killer. Waiting for more Raven and Cade adventures.

snowview03: This is the first book I have read on this app and I loved it! When I read the title I thought about the hunger games, but this novel is so much more. Some book have a comparison between other books that fallow like premises so i will do my own: Arena has the compellingly emotional stresses and t...

ianwatson: The comedy is original and genuinely funny, I have laughed out loud many times reading this book. But the story and the plot are also really engaging. The opening two or three chapters seem quite character-dense but they all soon come to life and there is no padding, filling or wasted time readin...

nakhvavaishu: just loved it...u cant put this book down once u start reading...from the very first page it is an emotional rollercoaster....the way author has described the undescribable😉 chemistry between our very own jay n aqueela its just way tooo awesome...i just felt the love n mischievious bonding betwee...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.