Louisa sniffed and looked up at the golden displays of symbols lit up on numerous control panels. She wiped stray tears from her eyes, hours must have passed! Resting her head back against a chilling metallic wall she freed herself and got up to pace from one side to the other. At times she placed her ear against the wall that entrapped her, but there was not a sound. She muffled a cry as she kicked and hit in desperation. She rested her head on her hands crunched into fists. Looking up faint spots of lights trailed around the room, her hand traced along them as she walked. Passing over some form of control panels, she noticed these specks were actually gold symbols that lit up to a greater degree upon touch.
Intrigued, she pressed one symbol. A holographic pyramid projected offering a number of strange shapes that held lines of various degrees and dots scattered around. Running her hand across the projection metallic tones sounded. Further square panels appeared and strange characters showed, again she pressed the brightest out of curiosity. Then a constant buzz sounded. A flash behind Louisa lit the room. Twisting round she faced a holographic projection of three grey beings sitting together, the central being more elevated than the other two. With a quivering gulp, she stepped closer, inspecting the scene a little closer. ‘What is this,’ Louisa thought waving her hand through the projection.
‘How can we help?’
The shock of the holograph speaking back had her up against the opposite wall trembling.
‘Well...?’ The central being continued with a thin smile set against rough wrinkled skin. His two colleagues both glanced up for a moment and then returned their attentions to smaller projections hovering before them.
‘You’re ...Your talking!’
‘I believe I am; now you created an urgent communication channel – since I’m rather impressed by your resourcefulness...how can I help you human?’
‘My name...my name is Louisa,’ she whispered, is this for real? Feeling a sharp pinch on her arm. She rubbed the pain away and watched, as this alien gazed at her, his smile grew wider as he glanced to his colleagues. Does he think this is funny? Who the hell does he think he is? ‘Help me? You can bloody well return me! What right do you have to take me from my home planet? Surely there must be galactic rules against this?’
‘We are following orders...Now have a seat and wait till your research team calls on you.’
‘Rest myself - are you joking? Who do you think you are bossing me around?’
‘The captain,’ he replied, raising an eyebrow.
‘Well if you are the captain - return me.’
‘Oh - I’ve had enough of this... I shall send Rufus and his research team...’ he said, waving a hand that caused his projection to vanish.
Eyes wide open; she stared back at the black wall, with no holographic panel in existence. ‘Oh no you don’t- bastard.’ Louisa hissed as slammed her fists onto the same buttons she had pressed to get the captain. Within a minute, the symbols glowed red and the panel sunk into the wall disappearing from sight. ‘The bastards,’ Louisa shouted, as she banged onto the wall.
‘Louisa, no amount of hitting the wall or shouts will bring that panel back,’ a voice sounded.
Louisa turned to the voice, three grey aliens stood at the entrance to the room short arms hung above their hips. The one responsible for her latest infliction of pain stood central. Like an eagle, Louisa’s sight did not falter from theirs. Her artery pounded within her neck, as the flow of blood rushed to her head, her ear drum beat to every pulsation.
‘Louisa,’ the central one said, as he began to eye her up and down like his companions who returned their attention to flat screens they each held. He took a step forward and took his attention to the panel lit up on the wall. The holographic pyramid appeared and the alien pressed several symbols in quick succession. At once the room lit up several ceiling lights invaded the darkness. A window showing space appeared in the far end of the room, a wall slid open and black material started to fold out and inflated. Not a minute had past and two separate boxed seats stood before them, a solid cube lifted from the floor and sat central. Her gaze fixed, her hand rose shaking as she pointed to the new area. She watched as the three aliens walk past her and sat. One glanced up and gave a bored yawn and tilted its head to and held its sight upon Louisa. The other two glanced up and then looked between themselves.
‘Care to join us?’ An alien asked, whose head remained tilted wearing an assessing gaze, and spoke with a feminine voice. The alien stood and moved across one of the boxed seats to leave plenty of space for Louisa with a smile she patted the free spot and waved her free hand towards Louisa directing her to take a seat.
‘No! Now take me back - you should be setting an example - for peak sake you have space travel. You should know better than abducting lesser beings. Unless...you’re malevolent...You plan to sell me, or do horrible research or worse, enslave me! Oh my God, I’m going to die!’ Louisa said, and brought her hands to each cheek as she slid her body down to the floor.
‘Please,’ the alien said shaking her head along with her companions who were glancing at each other both wearing raise eyebrows. ‘You will come to no harm, all we want is to learn about your species, and maybe a bit about your technology, cultures and anything else that may become of interest to us. Your planet has gained the interest of us Askans and many other allied races,’ another alien said.
‘Well you’ve chosen the wrong person - you need a cleverer human, how about a scientist or someone who has studied at Oxford or Cambridge? Take me back and I can find someone more willing and useful for your research.’
‘You’ll do fine for what we need... why would you think we’d be interested in your own scientists or your educational faculties? When we hold more advanced technology and knowledge than all the sub species of your race?’
‘Because...’ Louisa began as words dried up.
‘Come Louisa, sit with me,’ the grey alien with the feminine voice said, smiling as she patted the empty space besides her.
Louisa groaned, as she thumped across the room and flung herself onto the seat, but began to cling to the edge of the free seat. Her eyes stared at the other two beings sat opposite her who wore a silvery - blue tunic with trousers underneath. A little symbol showed a violet planet stitched high up on the right side. The female alien sat next to her wore the same uniform but the tunic was slender and had the same curves that human females bore.
‘Louisa... I’m Miya and this is Rufus,’
‘We’ve met,’ Louisa said rubbing her ear.
‘And you should be grateful we can communicate,’ Rufus said, looking up from his screen.
‘And I’m Sentukila,’
‘Oh good now that we have had introductions, can we have farewells?’
‘Not quite Louisa, but if you are co – operative with us you will get home a lot sooner,’ Miya said.
‘Who are you people?’
‘We are from a race called Askans, within the Zeta Reticula system,’ Rufus said.
‘Why must I come to your planet? Surely, you can carry out any research on this ship. You can ask me as many questions as you want now and get your captain to return me,’ Louisa said, wrapping her arms around her knees as she hugged herself.
‘How old are you Louisa?’ Miya asked with concern.
‘Sixteen!’ Three grey heads shot up. ‘You can drive those vehicles at that age!’
‘Not quite...it’s my dad’s...which is why you need to return me... it’s a hire car - he’ll get into so much trouble.’
The three aliens looked between themselves.
‘I don’t think he’ll be the only one to get into trouble,’ Miya said, raising an eyebrow towards her colleagues.
Louisa huffed ‘please just take me back, I have a few things that I need to sort out.’
‘We cannot turn back now Louisa... Do not resist us, no harm shall come to you child. You’ll be home in no time,’ Sentukila said smiling.
‘Why should I be harmed, if I do not co operate. What exactly do you want me to do?’
‘I’m afraid you are in no position to seek such answers,’ Sentukila smiled. ‘But, we have a good interest in your planet; no harm shall come to you, or your home.’ He continued and worked on some flat screen he had been carrying comparing notes with his colleagues.
Louisa gazed into the window watching space pass by. Yet, distracted by the left side of her view two white ships glowed. Both on a collision course! Upon impact, a blinding flash of light disorientated her, though only for a moment. When her sense of sight returned, she saw only one of the two ships remaining.
‘What the hell just happened?’ Louisa asked, startled and walked to the window staring at a new craft that was double the size of the crafts that had collided.
‘Fusion,’ Miya said, still concentrating on her screen with the others.
‘What?’ Louisa asked, as a buzzing noise infiltrated her environment and noticed the ships’ speed increase - itself on a direct collision course. ‘Hey...hey, we are on collision course - we need to inform the captain!’ Louisa said running over to a panel. There she pressed the same buttons that she had done earlier, where the same holographic pyramid appeared. Reaching out to press the brightest symbol, twig like fingers caught her hand preventing her from making an emergency call.
‘Louisa, calm yourself and sit down. We shall fuse with that ship to gain more energy for speed. You have nothing to worry about,’ Miya said, taking Louisa by her shoulders back to her place on the seat.
Sat in the corner Louisa got hold of her legs and buried her head in her lap, eyes shut tight. Moments had past and a slight jerk to the ship along with a whooshing noise. ‘What’s happened, are we still alive?’ Louisa asked, facing three amused faces.
‘Yes, you are still alive, try to get some rest. We still have a fair journey to go Louisa. I’ve left some water if you want a drink. Otherwise we will leave you, and please do not use the emergency communication channel again. If we had an emergency we would be here to get you, before you even realised we had a situation on our hands,’ Rufus said, rubbing her head with a smile and walked out with his colleagues.
Left alone once again, Louisa laid down upon the sofa. Occasionally, she glanced out the window, bright lights of numerous colours occasionally shot off at speed. Whilst stars stood in their place visible now that the ship had reduced its speed. Neighbouring ships passed by at either great speed disappearing in a flash or remained motionless.
Getting up from the chair Louisa made her way to the screen which focused on dozens of ships that dwarfed the ship she was in. Edifices emerged central from the ships like budding roots or new growths. A dozen of these ships orbited around a planet, painted with a mixture of violets and blue colours within the atmosphere with a solid green land mass situated to the right side surrounded by turquoise oceans.
‘Welcome to Askar,’ a voice from behind said.
Turning she faced Rufus, Sentukila and Miya.
‘Askar?’ Louisa asked turning back round so her sight was to the window.
‘Yes, it’s our home,’ Miya said, as she stood beside Louisa.
‘Your...your home is... beautiful,’ Louisa spoke, stuttering as her nerves grew.
‘Well you will be able to get a better view of Askar, when we get to our base,’ Miya said with a yawn.
Lifting up an eyebrow Louisa studied Miya and her colleagues and looked out to a mother ship. ‘Don’t you guys live in those big ships over there?’ she pointed.
‘No we don’t, these ships are docking and defence ships. We need to transfer ships to get to our base on the surface. So you better come with us, the rest of the crew are waiting.’ Rufus said and placed hands upon her shoulders to direct.
Led down well lit corridors, she passed many Askans and other aliens. One reptilian, covered in green scales making conversation to a scarlet being that held rich yellow eyes, hypnotising enough to dive into any soul. Both beings disappeared as she was held back within the tight grasps of Rufus and Sentukila.
Crowds before her merged, a great presence of Askans in black one piece uniforms roamed about in threes. Others stood still down the sides of corridors their eyes searched and often rested on her. A squeal sounded and ahead of her one of these black uniformed Askans had fired some weapon and froze a brown alien that was having its three pairs of arms captured by other Askans.
Louisa’s mouth dropped as the grasps on either arm tightened and pulled through the crowds whose attention diverted from the scene to her.
Why are they all staring at me have they not seen a human before? Oh crap - I guess not. Louisa kept her head down trying to ignore the attention. Walking two steps behind Miya, her body began to shiver with fear; her teeth chattered as she wrapped her arms across her chest. Her gaze focused on Miya, but occasionally glanced round the busy corridors filled with a biodiversity that only a universe could contain. She came to a stop behind Miya, who now was presenting some papers to an Askan in a one piece black uniform with a matching cap who blocked an entrance with five other colleagues. Glancing up and towards Louisa, the guard eyed her up and down with curiosity and then waved Louisa and her captors past, onto a ship that held rows of seats filled well with Askans and other races.
The ship shook with tremors spreading throughout its body. Seated between Rufus and Miya, Louisa looked out of a window, she noticed an oval shaped disk, glowing brightly in a dirty silvery colour where tiny ships roamed - cleaning, repairing and re-fuelling. The sight faded away into a tiny dot. Several other stops occurred, and over a short space of time the seating area became packed with Askans. Two further Askans sat in her row, and spoke to Sentukila and the others as they glanced Louisa’s way.
‘Louisa, this is Puden he is the one in charge of the research project you are participating in and the other Askan is Steros another member to our team.’ Both Askans gave pleasant smiles, and peered at her with much interest as with many that past her row of seats.
‘Louisa, there’s nothing to worry about,’ Miya said, tapping Louisa’s shifting hands.
Louisa, glanced down to Miya’s grey hand and then up to her grey eyes. Swallowing her breathing maintained its fast pace and heart pounded with increasing strength against her chest. I’ll believe that when I’m home! Louisa thought nerves playing havoc with her mind, as many strange eyes met hers with much interest and observation.
Turning her attention from her company she focused outside looking towards the green land masses getting larger in size as the ship entered Askar’s atmosphere. ‘Where do you call home?’ Louisa asked.
‘Some where there,’ Miya said, with a bright smile upon her face and pointed through the window. ‘You’ll be able to get a better view when we break into the atmosphere.’
‘How long do I have to stay here?’ Louisa gulped with pleading eyes.
‘That depends on you Louisa, you co-operate and we’ll get things done faster and be able to return you sooner. But, you will not be going anywhere until the research commissioned has been completed – nothing, can be left out,’ Puden said, in a cool manner, but gave a pleasant smile at the end.
‘Look Louisa here is our base,’ Miya said, pointing to five metallic black sky scrapers joined centrally by a large pyramidal structure that glistened in a bronze colour. The skyscrapers were of similar uniform heights with bridges linking different parts of the base. Some bridges snaked down to lower floors; others climbed up whilst the rest linked the neighbouring sky scrapers. Tiny white specs flew around the structure like busy bees.
The base drastically grew in size within seconds; the time it took for the ship to land outside near the base. Suddenly, Louisa received a tug from behind - it was Rufus,
‘Come on, we can’t stay here all day; I will show you to your quarters,’ Rufus said, as the others got up and waited.
‘What my quarters? But, I thought I was not staying here long?’ Louisa asked, now fazed by how long she is expected to stay.
‘You cannot really expect us to complete our research in one hour do you?’ Rufus asked blowing out a deep sigh, but sympathy lined his eyes.
‘No... I suppose not... but... how long... do you expect me to stay here?’ Louisa asked, words tripping over each other.
‘Don’t worry yourself, this experience will not be as bad as you think,’ Miya said, taking hold of Louisa’s arm and led her along a blue - grey stone path that passed several artificial water pools that reflected the bronze colouring of the pyramid. Its size was beyond her vision.
Entering a grand reception area, Miya and Rufus kept her at arm’s length as they directed her through the loud crowds, and eventually down a corridor to a line of doors that were well spaced out. Rufus pressed some gold symbols again, and caused a bronze door to slide open to reveal a room a soft mattress sunk into the floor central to the room, two plain grey cubed seats sat to one wall with a room attached containing many unfamiliar gadgets, buttons and machines scattered neatly around.
One gadget a large black cube decorated by a number of symbols turned out to be some drink machine where a small door slid open with a loud ding. A hollow cylinder sat in the opening steaming Rufus retrieved it and handed it to Louisa. He added some powder to the drink.
‘What the hell have you added, plan to drug me now?’ Louisa shouted, throwing the cup out of his hands, spilling the contents upon the wall that trailed slowly down the wall being so thick and gooey.
‘No, I was planning to give your body the ability to metabolise our food by introducing a few friendly bacteria - specifically designed for you.’ He stormed back to the drinks machine and retrieved another, adding the rest of his sachet. ‘Drink it, if you do not want to starve to death.’
Narrowing her eyes she gave in to Rufus’ threat, and drank the thick puree with no taste. She gagged as it stuck against her throat lining her digestive tract.
‘Good, I can leave you now to get an early night,’ Rufus said, and nodded goodbye. Left alone she threw the empty cylinder across the room that chimed as it flung against the wall, whilst Louisa collapsed onto the padded section of the floor and curled up into a ball, stray tears followed one by one.