Beyond The Blue Horizon
“I believe that it is nothing less than our duty to make contact with these beings.” Riblot peered at the screen. “They appear to be somewhat intelligent. We cannot leave without showing them that they are on a dangerous path.”
Zarble’s erect crest quivered, showing his distaste for the creatures scurrying across the screen.
“I cannot agree Commander. They bring to mind those that we eradicated on Arox-49. If we had arrived but a few centuries later they would instead have completely eradicated that most highly evolved species in the waters of their world. These beings are clearly a form of destructive parasite. I recommend that we cleanse this world of them. Considering that we are but two, our transporter and drive are damaged and not fully functional, and also, we are under specific instructions not to interact with new species. We know nothing of this planet other than what we have observed in one of their days. I say leave them be, or destroy them.”
Riblot uncoiled a tentacle from around the leg of his stool, and moved over to the window, staring at the planet below. He scratched his chin thoughtfully.
“Indeed,” he said in disgusted tones. “Those awful creatures on Arox ate their superiors. And it was not we who destroyed them, but your hasty tentacle! I merely took responsibility as your commanding officer. But, here I see hope. We cannot eradicate these beings! They are merely struggling to find their way to the higher knowledge of the cosmos. We can help them. Teach them. Show them the way.”
Zarble joined him at the window and sighed. “It is true that our great Queen was not pleased that we did not first take aboard a few specimens from Arox before destroying those disgusting creatures. She was angry that we might have made a mistake.”
He questioned the gentleness of his leaders. The dominant species on the planet below were clearly collectively insane, vicious, and apparently hell-bent on destroying not only themselves, but every other denizen of their world. His tentacle itched to release the missile that would rid the universe of them before they found a way to infest that too.
“Instead of contact, would it not be wiser to collect a few of these, er, to take home? We are not qualified to choose to include them into the universal community. We can beam down into the waters, assuming the transporter is working, and gather a few from among those that infest the seas in those floating contraptions, without making ourselves known to rest of them. Our suits are not visible, and our physical appearance should not attract their notice.”
Zarble watched his commander’s face light up at the thought of having company on the long flight home. It was boring with just the two of them, and the damage to the drive negated the possibility of their usual mode of travel.
“Yes!” Riblot’s beak trembled excitedly. “We so closely resemble those creatures we briefly spotted in the deeps of their oceans that we will not frighten any of them. We will go under cover of darkness.”
“Hmm,” said Zarble. “That’s another thing. That group appeared much more intelligent than the parasites, er, beings, you wish to meet. We could be mistaking what appears to be the dominant species here for the most advanced.”
Riblot irritably swatted Zarble’s eyeball with an extended tentacle. “Let us not forget who is in charge of this mission Lieutenant! Bring me my suit, and let us get on with this harvesting.”
They undulated through the warm waters of the ocean, unaware of what waited beyond the blue horizon.
“It’s wonderful being out of the vessel, and swimming free after all this time aboard ship, is it not Zarble?”
Zarble’s terror had begun to grow when he realised that the faulty transporter had deposited them in the warm, salty sea, twenty times reduced in size. He looked nervously at the myriad of creatures swimming around, inspecting them. He also was beginning to doubt the integrity of his invisible, protective suit. He felt sure that he had felt a nip when a strange looking finned thing had darted behind him.
“Commander! We must abort this mission. I feel unsafe!”
“Nonsense! Your cowardice is unfounded and embarrassing Lieutenant! Look above. Here is one of their floating devices now. Have the immobiliser at the ready. Prepare to board. Aaargh! My eyes! What is this bright beam that so attracts me?”
“Come on Jan. Have a bit!”
“Nah. Those two didn’t look right to me. Never seen a day-glo pink calamari with fourteen tentacles before.”
“Arr well. Your loss. Seems right enough to me. Not as chewy as the last lot.”
Ryder squeezed more lemon on the final morsel of tasty tentacle, and popped it in his mouth.
© Jo Robinson 2013