Blue clouds floated away against a violet backdrop. A breeze rocked burgundy branches, red leaves malted and drifted through the air, as a red sun roamed high. A rumble sounded, Louisa walked from the window rubbing her stomach. She strolled towards the door that imprisoned her and groaned as she failed to slide the door open, banging her hands she hoped someone may hear outside. ‘At least five Earth hours must have passed since that projection shut itself off,’ Louisa said. She threw herself onto the seats, laid down and gave a large yawn. Rolling onto her back she wiped a tear away as images of her parents floated up in her mind.
Dad is going to hate me when I get back! And mum...well serves them right for leaving me alone when they went out for dinner. Telling me to calm down, they started the argument... . I don’t want to go to law school. When will they realise that I do not want to follow in their footsteps. I want to live my own life and make my own mistakes...well I’m certainly paying for my first mistake. How long are these aliens going to take. Shutting her eyes, she dozed off, overcome by tiredness.
A metallic pong sounded, Louisa looked up, gold symbols lit up on the panels beside the door. The door opened and three Askans dressed in black one-piece uniforms entered. Three pairs of eyes gazed at Louisa, and between themselves. ‘You’re the human?’ one asked.
‘Yes, and that human is called Louisa. Now where have that research team gone, don’t tell me they are still having that debriefing, the day must be nearly over by now.’ Louisa looked out to the window, seeing the sun shifted to a three o’clock position.
‘You’re waiting for them to collect you?’ A look of surprise sat upon their faces, each flicking looks between themselves.
‘Yes...and I’ve waited long enough,’ Louisa said.
‘I don’t think you’ll be seeing them till tomorrow, the place has shut up for the night. Come, we’ll take you back to your quarters.’
Louisa’s stomach rumbled, she rolled her eyes and rubbed her stomach. ‘Shame I have the most incompetent research team, they say they will not harm me...they’ll starve me at this rate!’ Louisa said, throwing her arms in the air.
The Askan stopped briefly flicking looks to his company. ‘Kiddo, we are more than capable at taking you the canteen and they did not forget you, Puden asked command ...it’s just, we had things of greater priority to deal with than a hungry human child.’
‘I am not a child...’ Louisa said, sighing and shook her head.
Soon they were entering the same food hall she had originally gone to. Tables were laid out with numerous dishes full of food. Heading to one in a far corner a pile of rectangle grey stone slabs were stacked at one end. ‘Here, take a seat,’ a guard said, giving a slab to Louisa, as the others took seats. Long grey fingers reached out to a white dough. Each guard gathered small portions and rolled the dough into small balls dipping them into numerous dishes of sauces, ‘I thought you were hungry Louisa?’
She smiled and pulled at the dough, stiff and grainy. Her hands fought the elastic hold, and soon triumphed as she separated her piece. A neighbouring guard filled tiny bowls sat with in her plate with different sauces. Looking to the other guards she copied their actions rolling small pieces and dipping them into different sauces. A black gravy-like sauce sat nearest. She held the half black-dyed dough for a moment before taking a nibble at it. Chewing the rubbery texture, her tongue began to burn, not from heat but from the flavour. She forced herself to swallow the mouth full as she tried to rid herself of the heat. Her eyes watered, as she tried to air her mouth, her hands waving in front.
‘Best not to start with that sauce, it has a nasty kick,’ her neighbouring Askan said. A cup was placed into her hand, ‘water?’ Louisa gasped, a nod was her reply as her companion returned to their own meals. Finishing her second cup of water, the area was swarmed by a sea of black uniforms. ‘Is your world run by your military?’
The neighbouring guard nodded reaching across to get another sauce. ‘Who runs Earth?’
‘A number of different government bodies, some by democratic means, others by dictators, communists, lineage, depends where you live, ’ Louisa said pushing the black sauce away from her.
‘Rather complicated for managing your worlds’ affairs, but if it works for your people so be it. How long is it going to be, till you guys turn up on our doorstep?′
‘A very long time...we don’t have space travel like you do,’ Louisa said taking a sip of some purple juice poured out.
The guards looked taken aback, ‘Kiddo, you wouldn’t be here unless your people had space technology, or were on the verge of it.’
‘Well we have to travelled to our moon. Sent a few satellites beyond our solar system. That’s all.’
‘No we mean inter-stellar travel,’ the guard continued.
‘You mean like space travel? Like you guys?’ Louisa asked.
‘Hmm,’ the guard nodded and popped a red dyed ball of dough into his mouth.
‘Rufus,’ another guard said waving to him with Miya, Steros, and a few others following behind.
‘Louisa,’ Rufus smiled, and sat next to her as a guard gave his seat up. ‘How do you like the food?’
‘Not very much, umm Rufus why are you doing research on the human race when we do not have space travel?’
He gave her a frown and sighed, as he looked to his military colleagues. ‘The continent we took you from, there are underground bases holding crafts capable of space travel like ours. Some say more advanced than ours. However, we have not studied the scans of these bases. But we will, when we have more time freed up for the human study.’
‘Yes, not far from the large human settlement you were heading towards. You people certainly like bright lights,’ Miya said. Another girl came to join Miya, grasping her arms.
‘What’s in these bases then?’
‘Space crafts, we believe,’ Rufus said helping himself to some dough.
‘Have you spotted any flying? How did you discover this information?’
‘Never you mind, eat up, you’ll have a long day tomorrow,’ Miya said.
‘So this is the human you want the academy to take tomorrow,’ Miya’s friend said.
‘Yes, it will be a great help, you know with the new research discovery...’
‘Where?’ Louisa asked.
‘It’s where we train our young,’ Rufus said, ‘my nephew will be in the same set. I’ll ask him to look out for you.’
‘Hmmm...have you guys ever crashed landed a space craft on Earth?’
‘No!’ at once she had the attention of everyone.
‘That would be wholly irresponsible,’ a guard said.
‘Ok, have you contact with other species,’ Louisa asked.
‘Yes, we Askans have many alliances, perhaps one day your people can join the Institute of Planets.’
‘Institute of what?’ Louisa asked.
‘Planets, we shall be going there tomorrow to learn a bit of politics and world relations,’ Miya’s friend said.
‘Do you think another race crashed landed on Earth’s soil then?’
‘No Louisa, it’s against the Institutes rules and regulation when visiting worlds of lesser civilisations,’ Rufus said.
‘Do you know of any species that are tiny, grey and heads too big for their bodies?’
‘No Louisa, now enough of your questions,’ Steros said shaking his head as he returned to his conversation with his neighbour.
‘Fine...but one more question, are you sure you discovered space ships underground?’
‘Yes, why else would you be here? Now eat up!’ Steros said.
Letting out a deep sigh, she took another dough ball to her mouth, dyed yellow.
‘Perhaps your not levy to that sort of knowledge with your age...’ the guard next to her said.
‘Something that big would not be kept secret...unless, that Roswell stuff actually happened?’ Louisa mused. ‘You said there were a number of ships underground?’ Louisa asked.
The table looked up, but many chose to ignore her and continued with their own conversations.
‘Yes Louisa, now enough of this,’ Rufus said.
‘How can that be possible? Only one crashed landed.’
‘Louisa you obviously have had enough, you better get an early night. You’ll be tired after spending a day in the Institute of Alien Affairs. We should be able to resume our studies the following day. Trienz has agreed to take you to the school,’ Rufus said nodding his head to the guard sat beside her.
Rufus placed a hand on Louisa’s shoulder forcing her to get up. On reaching her accommodation, Rufus played with a control panel. ‘I’ve programmed two washes, all you need to do is walk towards the door to activate them. I may see you tomorrow.’ Rufus smiled as he left her to enter the smog of blue steam before her