“Can you see that or it’s my old eyes?” asked Dr. Forbes Clinton pointing to the greenish spot on the black screen. “No sir. I can see it too.” said Emma Frijet, the assistant researcher of the Celestial Observation Department of the NASA headquarters. “Yes Doctor, it seems it is moving.” said Neil Wilson, “And approaching for something too.” said Clinton. “Maybe-” Emma pauses and then continues, “No, not maybe, it is approaching for us, the Earth!” The green spot meanwhile was getting bigger and bigger.
“Sir we are receiving some kinds of sound waves. They are quiet unfamiliar.” said Neil passing the headsets to Clinton, increasing the intensity for differentiation. “They are sending us signals to let them land on our planet!” said Emma excitedly. “Pardon me! But who are you talking about? ” Asked Helen Kirby who was sitting just next to where Emma was standing and was working on some controls. “Oh, it is pretty axiomatic, the outsiders!” exclaimed Emma and taking in the reaction she got, continues “Oh, come on guys! Who else would it be? A meteorite wouldn’t send us sound waves, would it?”
“Emma, don’t be a spoilsport. There is no certainty that this is a spaceship.” disagreed Helen. “Silence, I guess Emma is right. The thing has entered our atmosphere.” pointed out Dr. Clinton as another computer signaled an unwanted movement in the Thermosphere. “Already in the thermosphere? Don’t you think it is too fast?”asked Helen. “We don’t have time! It will soon land. Emma, call Ken. Fast!” commanded Forbes. Emma hurriedly picked up the intercom to dial her third crush Ken Stilton’s intercom.
Ken Stilton hurriedly moved down the NASA corridor. He was wondering why his forty five year old mentor would call him today! Today was his twenty seventh birthday and Dr. Clinton had promised him that he wouldn’t be bothered today the least. And if Dr. Clinton was backing off his promise, it meant that there was something important Ken needed to attend.
Ken opened a pair of doors to enter a cabin with number of glass doors, swiped his identity card through the identity scanner of one such door, which slided open to let him enter in a room with tensed atmosphere. Emma was sitting at one table, making notes hastily. Neil was talking to Dr. Forbes, standing near the black screen. “Hey what is that?” asked Ken, pointing to the green spot on the black screen which had now became very distinct in terms of features. The thing looked more like a giant cucumber to Helen rather than an Unidentified Flying Object (U.F.O).
“Oh! Thank god you are here Dr. Stilton.” Sighed Clinton and added quickly, “see Stilton we haven’t got even fifteen minutes. So no questions, just my instructions and your obedience. Is that clear?” And before Ken could nod, he continued, “There is an unfamiliar body coming towards us at a very quick pace. It seems it is going to land in the barren orchard of the charity school which is not farther than two kilometers from here. Now before they reach, you’ll be there, all ready with an armed force ready to attack. You have to see what the thing is and do nothing more than observe it. Is that clear?” and as usual before getting a response, he commanded, “Okay, so on the move. Leave for the orchard immediately.”
The barren orchard was no more an orchard but a mini forest with wild grass growing up to seven inches. The so-called apple and pear trees no more conceived fruits but had grown dry branches sharp enough to rip through your skin. Ken was thus moving very carefully wondering what the thing might be. “There it is!” shouted Alfred Tariel, the leader of the army of seven soldiers who were all hidden behind the dried up but large enough trees.
Ken looked up to find a large cucumber like U.F.O heading towards the orchard. He could see green strips on the body of the vessel just like a cucumber. There were yellow but irregularly shaped patches on the ship which when looked closely were shut windows. As the ship which came nearer, Ken’s curiosity increased just like his heart beat. “Bend down.” he whispered to Alfred who then transferred the message to others behind.
The ship finally came to rest, blowing dust and crushing the dried up grass. It was quiet lurid that the tail of the ship possessed a logo of EARTH and an ‘M’ was printed over it. The place on the ship which was supposed to be the front door slided open and out came a human like figure, an odd gun in his hand. “He looks just like us!” whispered someone. “No he doesn’t. Look at his hand.” came another voice. Ken’s eyes went towards the hand of the alien and was surprised to find a regular hand with no thumb! The man moved further and was followed by four other similar looking aliens.
The man’s hands were locked over the trigger of the gun. “Dr. Stilton!” he called. Realizing that this was for him, Ken changed his position, ready to be up. “We know you are here, come out.” Ken whispered to Alfred, “Get ready.” He stood up and moved towards the place where the man stood. Trying his best not to make sounds while moving to avoid revealing of his accompaniers, he finally reached the spot from where he could see the alien’s back. To Ken, the curly head of the man looked too large. He had once heard that Einstein had a head too big but this didn’t add up here rather it made it confusing.
This man, whom he was not sure about if he is capable of being called a man or not, has got no thumb, a too large head and what abnormalities not. Ken held his gun up, pointed at the man’s head, “Attention, dear alien! I want your hands up.” “Oh, there you are Dr. Stilton.’ The alien said while turning around to face Ken. “I said hands up! And tell me who you are and how do you know my name?” Ken shouted. “Okay, Okay. Calm down. Dear Earthian.” “I’ll shoot I say, hands up in the air!”
“Sure? Do you think you alone can defeat an army of fifty?” Fifty! How is that possible? Fifty people in this Sputnik sized ship! “And do you think that I am alone?” Ken asked ignoring the fact that seven soldiers might not be able to fight fifty alien soldiers who of course won’t be unarmed. “No, not at all.
I am not under estimating you at all. But do you think that they all are capable of fighting fifty soldiers? Forget fifty, are you full of enough aplomb that your people can fight me alone?” the alien challenged. Provoked by this, Ken shouted, “Alfred, shoot!” But to his despair, nothing happened. He repeated, “Alfred, do you hear me? Shoot!” but this too went with the same reaction.
A smile reached the alien’s white face. A widened eye Ken ran back towards where his companions lay hidden. He found an alive but unconscious Alfred lying on the ground. All his body except the feet had turned blue. The same condition continued with the other seven.
Running back to the aliens, Ken shouted, “What the heck have you done to them?” “To be truthful I have done nothing. Trust me, they have just frozen, not dead yet.” “But why?” Ken cried. “It is simple. Because I am here to negotiate, not to fight. And I can’t trust them.” “Why me then?” “No other option lies beholden in my eyes. We wanted Dr. Clinton to come but you did. So we have to eventually risk trusting you.” “I am not getting it. How do you know me? How do you know Dr. Clinton? How can you speak English?” “I know it is pretty obfulscating for you but to simplify this we have to talk. So here I invite you to our little ship. We’ll have a point to point conversation.” The alien pointed to the cucumber vessel.
The internal of the ship was not at all like an earthian space shuttle. It felt more like a resort room rather than a space craft. Although externally the ship had looked like a cucumber to Ken, while sitting on the soft red sofa, he was kind of surprised to find it to be a rectangular room with several doors clustered just like a luxurious flat. Ken found out another surprising fact about the ship, which was, the yellow patches which had looked like shut windows earlier weren’t actually shut. The door like thing over them had several pores on it through which you could almost everything outside.
“Surprised to see our developments, Stilton?”Laughed the alien who sat just across Ken. “Beg your pardon!” “Oh, forget it, let’s come to the point. This is Ross Perch, the head of the Madrian Space Research Union.” “Sorry! Head of what?”
“Sorry! It is my mistake. You don’t even know the beginning, do you?”ignoring Ken’s frown, Perch continued, “Listen boy, just like your Earth , there’s another planet where life exists. It’s not in this solar system but in the Milky Way. That’s where I belong to, Madre is the name of the planet. But the difference between your planet and Madre is that the thing which you all call as Pangea broke up on our planet too but it reunited again years ago. We don’t know if our planets were created at the same time or not but our researches convey that Madre was created earlier as it is more evolved than Earth. Though most of the things that have happened naturally on your planet had been done years ago on our planet yet some things remain different on our respective planets. For instance, our planet has no history of the reptiles you call dinosaurs unlike your planet.”
“How do you know so much about our planet when we don’t about yours? How do you know me?” “Don’t worry child, all your queries would be cleared. Just maintain some equanimity. To your first question, maybe you missed my one point; we are much more developed so we ultimately knew about you before you did about us. As to knowing you, well to be fair we have been keeping an eye on the NASA headquarters especially your department since last ten years, I mean your twenty years.” “Does that mean your planet takes slower revolutions around the sun? No, around what?” “Getting confused Stilton? Don’t worry. Our planet also revolves around a star known as Ella. The only difference is we are much nearer to Ella than you are to Sun. Madre takes three hundred and sixty five days and approximately six hours to complete one revolution as Earth does. The revolutions take same time but the speed of time is different.” “You lost me.” “See, it’s just like two clocks where one is ahead of the other. The time on Madre moves slower than the time on Earth.” “Is it like Twin Paradox?” “Not exactly, but yes you can say so.”
“That means that one second of yours takes double time of what our one second does?”
“Oh you got it!” “What about your appearance? No offence but Earth and your Madre are almost identical, right? So the organisms living there should also be similar, but….?” asked a nervous Ken. “Yes you are right and they are. But as I told you earlier, Madre is perhaps older and thus is more evolved and so are we. As you can see unlike you, I lack that small finger you have got, what do you call it?” “ Thumb?” “Yes thumb, not only this, we Madrians only have four toes in each of our feet when you have five.” “ I am still not getting it, if you had always known about us then why didn’t you contact us earlier? Why now?” “Because we never needed to. Today I am here for a purpose which is to negotiate on behalf of Madre with Earth.” “About what?” “See the questions you people have been wondering about since last hundred years, have already been tackled by us.
We know answers to most of them. For instance, we know what is inside a black hole and where does it open, why is it present and how can we use it. Whereas you all are still researching on it. There are many things you only have theories about but we are certain about most of them. So here I offer you all the developments we have made. I am ready to reveal all those of our developments which will open doors to the secrets of the universe for you. Not only this you will get the proofs of those too. Just a favor in return will do.” “Favor?” “Of course, we’ll not give the secrets to you for free, will we?”
“I am sorry if that’s an offense but how am I to believe you? I mean tomorrow I’ll have to face the world to reveal those secrets you are talking about, what am I to tell them? That a thumbless alien came and gifted me these?”asked Ken. “That is something to think about!”said Ross as if thinking for a solution and then quickly adds, “but we’ll think about that later! First tell me is there anything else you need to ask me or should I proceed to the deal?” “Yes I have got a question about your planet. You all speak such fluent English? And you have got same terms like Pangea?” “No we don’t! We don’t speak English.
You have to understand this, we were planning this trip since a long time. So we kind of brushed our English speaking skills!” “You are simply confusing me.” “Okay, see you were and are the only living organisms existing other than us we know about. And as I told you we always had our one eye on you. Thus it was made compulsory for every Madrian who joined the space research team which was for this purpose named in English-MUSR: Madrian Union of Space Research, to learn English. Later it was made mandatory for every Madrian to learn at least one Earthian language.” “But how did you learn those? You didn’t have any tutor ,did you?” “It took us some time. Over time we observed your radio satellites and then tried our best record them. We slowly developed Madrian -Earthian language dictionaries which were edited many times.” “You all are so intelligent! I hate to say it but I doubt we could have thought of that way in any case.” “Thanks,” Perch smiled, “but still we lack some perfection.
Where you all have specific duties and can easily focus on your respective jobs, we have to look over almost everything.” “Beg your pardon but I didn’t get it.” “Just like you have different countries and their different governments some are monarchy, some democratic, dictatorships etc., we also used to have the same management. But a few centuries after the Pangea reunited, we all made a decision to unite all the governments and become one single planet. Earlier we used to concentrate on the development of one country but now the focus would be on development of the whole planet. After a lot of debates it was decided that the MUSR would be superior and the head of it would be the president of the planet. Our current president is Great Salamander.” “Oh right- wait- didn’t you tell me that you are the head of MUSR ? Then how can this Great- whatever be the president?” “I am the president of Madre. Salamander is my second name. Pseudonym by which they call me.” “but isn’t Salamander name of an earthian animal? Amphibian I guess?” “Yes, it is.
The vegetation and wildlife on Madre and Earth are almost the same. And Salamander is famous for its ability to endure fire or so they say. Anyway, let’s move to the deal. So in short, we are ready to give you all our information related to our developments and discoveries along with their proofs. But in exchange of it, we want a favor.” “Move on. I am listening.” “So this begins with another story or incident you can say. Of course you would be familiar with Rachael Harley?” “Rachael Harley- yes, I guess he was the astronomer who had twenty years ago started for a space trip but he never returned, did he?” “No not to Earth. Haven’t you been told the whole story.” “No, not all of it. Although he was a colleague of my late father and my godfather, Dr. Clinton, so I know parts of it. ” replied Ken. “No problem, I know it.
Twenty years ago, a thirty year old young astronaut, a resident of Earth, had suspected another planet with existent life out of your solar system. Being proof less, his claims were declared fake. After long arguments and conditions, he decided to go and check on his own. After taking off from Earth he never returned to your planet. This is your version of story, isn’t it?” “Yes that’s what we have heard. But nobody knows for sure what happened to him.” “Well after five years or so of his departure from Earth, a partially damaged space shuttle landed on Madre. The ship had a logo of NASA engraved on it. All the controls of the shuttle had for an unknown reason stopped working. There was no edible item found other than two peanuts.
An almost dead body was found which was, later identified as Rachael Harley. Our next mission was to cure Harley and find out how did he manage this long journey without sufficient food and resources. His condition was so critical that we didn’t had enough time to even analyze him properly. In the hurry to save him we committed a mistake.” Salamander pauses, his face enlighten with the regret expression, he then continues, “A mistake that proved itself as a mistake not only for him but for us too, for our people, for our planet.” “What was it?” asked a suspense filled Ken. “ We used number of medicines on him. Tried to mix more than three solutions but all in vain.
After hours of failure, we all gave up and decided that the man who had managed such a long journey deserved a proper cremation. We all went to bed with a conclusion to cremate the man in Madrian religious terms the next day.” After an awkward pause Salamander continued, “But the next day, we found the man in his senses. He was conscious! But somewhat he seemed exaspareted with us. Maybe due to difference in Earthian and Madrian body structure, one of our medicines had reacted with his blood. He had got the capacity to create something. He threw gallons of it on our staff just like your Spiderman does to webs.” “Did you find what was it?” “Yes, we did. It was poison!” Salamander lets a widen eyed Ken swallow the shock and then continues, “What was weird was that he didn’t threw any particular type of it.
But every time it was a different one and maybe he was also not known to this fact. Whenever he in annoyance tried to defend himself, he unknowingly harmed our staff. Many of them died and some are still under treatment. We, after a lot of struggle, succeeded in getting the situation under control. He was finally tied with metallic handcuffs in an electrically protected cell. But next morning an empty cell was waiting for us. The handcuffs were partially melted and the floor was decorated with drops of hot acid like poison on the floor. We are still very much keen to know how did he manage to tackle the electric protection.
Since years we are trying to find a solution to him but of course we couldn’t. He has already killed one-seventh of our population in these years. It seems he thinks we are responsible for his this state and somewhere we are but it was to cure him! And I am certain that our punishment cannot cost the end of our planet!”
It takes minutes for Ken to take all that had happened and that he had heard in last one hour in. “Okay, so what do you want from us?”
“So what can we do? Apologise on behalf of our fellow earthian – Or whatever they call us?” asked Helen who sat just beside Emma, across Ken and Dr. Forbes. Ken had with utmost difficulty managed to explain all that had happened in the orchard and tried his best to report the exact words of Salamander. “No, till now the Madrians were using power, technology and their brains to get Rachael under control but now they want to use emotions.” Ken said. “How? Are we going to send the clip of ‘Mr. Bean’ to provoke Harley’s humor?” asked Helen, trying her best to be sarcastic. “Helen, this is not a joke.” said Clinton sharply and added to Ken, “, continue Dr. Stilton.” “Yes, so they want to use Rachael’s any close relative to convince him. Neil, can you please check if there is anyone like Charlotte Harley in connection with Rachael?” Ken asked.
After googling with his fast typing, Neil read, “thirty year old haematologist Charlotte Harley, daughter of late astronomer Rachael Harley, currently lives in the Trail Street of Washington D.C.” Ken continued, “They want us to take Charlotte Harley with us and follow them to their planet. Where Charlotte will help them by trying to persuade Rachael so that Madrians can get him and-” “- kill him?” Emma completed in an interrogating manner. “, partially yes, partially no. Salamander hasn’t actually specified that. Strange man. Not actually a man, is he?” “Forget it!”remarks Helen and then turns to Clinton, “ we are not going to give a yes, are we? I mean we cannot trust them! Isn’t it strange that people who have succeeded in tackling most of the wonders of universe could not search for a solution to a poisonous psychopath?
And I don’t actually believe that he succeeded in clearing off one-seventh of their population!” “Somewhere Helen is right but we cannot ignore the deal they are offering us! We are going to receive all the solutions to the questions we were pondering since centuries!” reminded Neil. “Yes, seeing that deal only a yes is coming out of my mouth.” stated Forbes. “Okay then, should I call the press?” asked a stupid Helen. “No, Kirby! This is going to be highly confidential. Try your best to keep this between we six- no, fourteen.” told Clinton. “why fourteen?” “Do not forget Alfred and his companions.” “Oh yes, where are they now?” “Salamander had frozen them, remember? They are with him only. He wants to ensure it’s a yes.
The moment we approach them in affirmative, they’ll release them, non- frozen.” Ken explained. “Okay, so Wilson is going to get Charlotte Harley and others will prepare for the trip.” Ordered Clinton. “One more thing doctor,” Ken said as if had just remembered something, “I forgot tell you, they want us to travel by their vessel.” “But why?” “They say that this long journey cannot be covered with our speed. It would take us years that way.” “Tell them our maximum speed is not less than thirty thousand kilometers per hour.” “I told them but the speed they told me theirs was, was just incomparable!” “And that is?” “Ten lightyears per hour.”
“Are we ready?” asked Salamander who stood just at the centre of the room in the space ship. The room had four long benches aligned to the edges of the room just like a local railway waiting room. There were three Madrian guards, two of them stood next to the two shut windows and one stood just beside the door to the room. All the women, Emma Frijet, Helen Kirby and an excited to meet her alive father Charlotte Harley sat on one bench, across them were the men, Forbes Clinton, Neil Wilson and Ken Stilton, all of them examining the room. “So, we’ll take off in minutes and will reach our destination in no more than twenty four hours.” Salamander said and continued, “ You’ll not need seat belts but each of you will be provided with an anti-inertial-gravity ring which you have to wear throughout the journey, in your left index finger.
If you feel anything like nausea or dizziness, just inform Leo or Ray” he pointed to the two guards who stood next to the windows. Salamander turned and started to leave when Helen spoke, “ what about oxygen deficiency?” Without turning, Salamander replied , “Oxygen is not a problem.” and continued out of the room. “What?” Helen half exclaimed and half questioned. “Here comes your answer.” Told an expressionless Neil, following whose gaze, Helen found herself looking at a Madrian in a white lab coat and a stethoscope around his neck enter the room with a black bag in his hand.
Keeping his bag on the floor, he takes out number of disposable syringes and a cough syrup like bottle. “Excuse me, but I hope you’ll not mind me asking, what are you doing?”asked Helen rhetorically. “Why? Don’t you all do this before a space trip? I am going to inject you all with this liquid which will prevent oxygen deficiency throughout the journey.”Speaking quickly, he began loading his syringes as if any other question wasn’t welcomed. “Sir, I hope this medicine hasn’t got any side effects, has it?” asked Neil as the Madrian doctor injected his arm. “Don’t worry child, it will work only till the end of twenty three hours and then you’ll be given a liquid to drink just to ensure it stops working.
At the highest point, it can just cause numbness at the bottoms of your feet and that too for seconds.” After everyone was injected and the doctor had gone, Emma broke the silence, “Ken, you told they are thumbless but they are earless too!” she pointed to the guards who weren’t paying the least attention to the Earthians. Everyone but Charlotte who was dozing, looked towards the guards to find they were indeed earless! “But how is this possible? I saw Salamander’s two ears with my these eyes!” Ken exclaimed. “Ken is right, I too saw Salamander’s two Oreo-sized ears.” Neil supported. Before anybody could respond, an announcement startled them, “ This is to inform everyone especially our Earthian guests that we are going to take off in not more than five minutes. So please ensure that you are seated with your rings in respective fingers and have been injected. Thank you.”
“Welcome to Madre!” cried Salamander as everyone de-boarded the ship. “ I can’t believe this!” cried Helen, “It looks just like Earth, I mean, see.” The planet was indeed like Earth, though you couldn’t see much of its natural beauty, just what was in there in the Madrian launching station exposed to the nature.
The MUSR headquarters were nothing like NASA headquarters. They were rather like a mixture of -airport and a resort. There was a long reception where six Madrians sat and attended people. There was a way at either side of the reception. A signboard at one signified that it was only for MUSR scientists and researchers. All the six Earthians queued up in front of the free reception counter. Another Madrian MUSR girl was called to stand beside the queue and check everyone with an object which looked like a metal sensor. “ You’ll each be given a separate room ma’am.” Said the receptionist as she handed over a brown box to Emma. The box contained a room key, a small phone like device (as theirs had been confiscated earlier) and a placard like thing over which the names of officials and their numbers were printed.
As the girl rolled the metal sensor over Helen’s body, Helen checked the features of the device she had just received. Suddenly she heard the beeps of the sensor over her cardigan pocket. “ma’am please take the thing out.” Requested the girl. Helen takes out nothing but a small pocket of orange candies out of her pocket. “OMG! Orrai!” shrieked the girl. “What? Orange candies!” exclaimed the receptionist with fearful disgust on her face. “Allen, stay away and throw them using this handkerchief.” She passes the cloth to the girl who then with a snort, throws the packet as a small kid does to a dead cockroach. “But they are just candies!” cries Helen. To her surprise, Allen ignores this and goes to the washroom informing the receptionist that she is going for a hand wash.
“Its disgusting!” snorts Helen as they enter the Elevator, “What’s the problem with orange candies? And what a stupid metal sensor they have which senses orange candies!” “ Come on, Helen, they were just candies.” Emma tries to convince. “Exactly. They were just candies!” insists Helen. “Excuse me, sir, madam,” the liftman nervously interferes, “ which floor?” “Seventh.” Clinton checks the keys and tells. As Helen cries over her poor orange candies, an idea strikes Ken. He looks towards the liftman and then towards the floor and points, “Orange!” The liftman jumps into the air and starts screaming. Then realizing it as a prank, he cries, “What the heck is this?” As others try to keep from laughing, Clinton said, “ Sorry for what my junior did but what’s the matter? Why are you all reacting so much over oranges?” “Come on, you! Now don’t act as if you don’t know that we Madrians are allergic to it!” “Huh!” The elevator doors slide open and all six Earthians get out as the liftman slides the door close with an exasperated expression.
All the six people burst out laughing. “Strange” remarks Ken trying his best to forget the scene of the liftman jumping. There are several beeps heard and finally someone realizes that they are from the phones they have been given. “Kind of a message.” Tells Emma and then reads out, “ All the Earthians are kindly requested to reach the dining hall for breakfast at 10’o clock sharp where you’ll be informed the plan.” She checks something and adds, “there is a G.P.S map to the hall, attached” “Okay, so after fifteen minutes, we’ll meet here.” Clinton said.
“ Good Morning sir! This is Kaselie Blackwood, your official attendant who is going to look after most of this trip.” A brown haired Madrian greets Ken at his door as Emma emerges out of her room. “ I am here to take you for Breakfast, Good Morning ma’am” she greets Emma and as gives a brief introduction. “Excuse me, sir, ma’am, let me pick your companions.” As she turns to Helen’s room, she is surprised to find Helen already there talking to Clinton. She then quickly introduces herself to them and moves to Charlotte’s room. “Hey guys, aren’t we moving for Breakfast?”asked Neil who just emerges out of his room.
The breakfast table was laden with some of the most delicious meals. For trays of bacon, two frozen salads, pork and fried spaghetti. “My dear Earthians,” said Salamander as he seats himself beside Clinton, “Thanks a lot for agreeing to helping us. Now without wasting time, let’s get on work. Rachael Harley seems determined to bring an end to our planet, thus we have been trying our best to catch him since years but as you know, it was all in vain. Sources tell us that Harley is currently hidden in the church of a deserted village ROOTSTONE, so today you’ll be escorted by a Madrian force to the village. All the other details will be filled in by Blackwood. You all can have your meal now.
“The drink wasn’t that good, that they were insisting so much.” Remarked Neil about the drink that they had been forced to drink, as they enter his room. “Exactly, they said it was their special drink, but it didn’t taste shit!” exclaimed Helen who had particularly disliked the drink. “ Helen, behave!” told Clinton sharply. All of them wanted to have a conversation, so they had decided to meet at wilson’s room. “I find this place too strange.” Told Emma, “though this place looks exactly like Earth-” “Not only looks,” breaks in Helen, “it works like Earth too.
Remember Ken told us the revolutions taken by this planet take almost the same time though the time is different. Whatever. Even the gravity values equal!” “How do you know that?” asked Emma. “I asked a MSUR official.” “Its MUSR!” “Whatever. He told me that it’s something like 9.80663 when our acceleration due to gravity is 9.80665.” “Though I am excited to meet my dad,” Charlotte spoke up, since the beginning of the trip this was the first time she was speaking, “yet I somewhere feel suspicious about them. This trip isn’t looking like a work trip but a casual friendly trip which we are spending in a resort like space research center!”
A knock prevails on the door, “ Sir, Kaselie here,” Neil signals everyone to be quiet and opens the door. “ I checked all of your rooms but to find them empty.” Kaselie said, peeping inside. “You found them empty because they were empty.” Said Helen.
Ignoring this remark, Kaselie continued, “Sir, Ma’am, we have to go to Rootstone, remember?”
“But you won’t need them!” said Leo while trying to take the Earthians’ guns out of their five fingered hands. “Why? We want them!” said Neil. “But our guns are more developed and useful!”o “But we are not used to them!” “We’ll teach you. And your guns are anyway not comparable to ours. We have got many variations in them! Shock guns, freeze guns, injure-shots, plaster-” “Exactly! You have got so many of them that we’ll get confused what to use when! And during a fight nobody has got that much of time to think.” Argued Helen. "And you were trying to get Harley with your weapons only, but failed, right? So let us do it our way!” added Ken. “But-”
“Leo! Let them take the guns.” Ordered a widen eyed President. Leo surrenders and all the five NASA officers take two pistols each. “Charlotte, won’t you take?” Ken asked Charlotte. “Oh no, what are you saying? I don’t want to harm him!”
The hyper car stops at the entrance of the Madrian church. Seven armed army men, three five fingered and one thumbless girls and three Earthian men step out of the car. “ Is this the place?” asked Emma. “ Seems so.” Replied Ken. “It’s a church, right? Do you guys have Jesus?” asked Helen. “Sushshsh…….” an army man indicated to be quiet. The place looked deserted indeed. As the fourteen try their best to move soundlessly, the iron gates make enough sound to awaken their Goosebumps. An apple tree, stands just right to give shade to a full herd of sheep. “Maybe that’s what he eats.” Clinton pointed out the red fruits and their scattered their eaten cores on the ground. “He never liked them,” Spoke Charlotte, “ the apples. He hated them and see the fate is such that-”
As the church’s doors, oddly shut, are opened by Ken, rest of them slowly follow him inside. The furniture is rummaged and the book shelves are somewhat spoiled by a liquid like thing. “That’s his poison.” Someone says.
Something falls down. No one is able to make out what it is in the dark. Perhaps a candle. Ken runs down to the spot but to find no one. A sound of shutting door is heard. Perhaps the back door. “ That way leads to the church graveyard. Probably he is there only.” Said an army man. All the fourteen move out of the backdoor, into the graveyard to find dusty marble graves spread over the medium-sized yard. “I hear something.” Neil said, pointing to the north of the yard. “ maybe he is behind that grave.” He points to ne cremation and moves towards it. In the position to shoot instantly, fingers on the trigger of the pistol, he suddenly hears a scream behind his back turning for which the trigger is pressed and a bullet shoots out through a Madrian’s right shoulder. All the other eleven collect over one place to see the person who had screamed. Neil, in shock, becomes wordless and apologetically moves towards the Madrian who when sees Neil’s face, smiles and says, “ No problem.” and moves towards the crowd. A shocked Neil does nothing but stares behind the Madrian and then joins the crowd to avoid missing anything.
Meanwhile in the crowd, another Madrian laid on the grass and a yellow liquid spilled over his neck. A rugged carpet like thing was sitting near a grave and the body language it showed, signified that it was weeping. The rugged creature was probably Rachael Harley as Clinton moved towards it and spoke, “Rachael?” Rachael doesn’t move. Charlotte continuously weeps, “Dad, oh dad, recognise me.” But nobody let’s her go near the poisonous creature. If you hear carefully, you’ll hear Rachael murmur under his noisy breaths, “Let me go. I want to go home.” Perhaps he notices the outsiders nearing, as he suddenly stands up, his red Charlotte like hair falling down, showing their actual lengths and a never ending beard covering parts of his face, and the rest of it is covered by his rough hands, nails of which are soaked in some liquid which probably is his poison. He screams, “ Stay away, stay away.” “Calm down Harley, see we are here to take you. Your daughter is here too.” told Clinton.
But Rachael seems to become deaf, he ignores everything and pushes Clinton to the ground, only to find all the other twelve guns pointed at him. His rolling and nervous eyes notice something suddenly, “ You have five fingers! You have a thumb!” he hisses. “Yes, we are from Earth, here to take you. Back home.” whispered Clinton while getting up to his feet. “That’s in twenty years, I have seen two thumbs other than mine.” “Daddy!!!” screamed an overwhelmed Charlotte. But just to find a confused Rachael who didn’t seem to recognize his daughter. “Dad, this is Charlotte. Your daughter. Your dear Charlotte. Recognize me.”
When Harley still seemed unconvinced, an odd determination came to her face. A mixture of hoarse and sweet voice comes up her throat,
“The angel, my angel will soon grow,
Grow into a beautiful lady who’ll be shy
My angel will soon glow,
Glow like a star and a firefly
Will be free just like the wind that blows,
Will always give her best every try
Just like the ants who do what they chose
My angel will soon grow”
For the next five minutes, nothing moved but waited for a reaction to the lullaby. “Charlotte!” Rachael whispered, “My angel!” he runs to the woman and tries to capture her in his poisoned but safe arms. “You are so grown up” he kisses her on her forehead and adds, beaming, “I hope you hadn’t been mischievous.” His eyes move to Clinton. It takes him some time to recall the familiar face and then it strikes him, “Forbes? Is it you?” “Yes, Rachael, this is me.” “Here to take me! Where is Arnold?” “Stilton is no more. This is his son, Ken Stilton.” Clinton points to Ken who stands still, wordless. Rachael walks towards Ken and touches his cold face gently, “You look just like him! Like your beautiful dad. But how did this happen?” he asked Clinton. “ Some kind of hyper allergy. You know how allergic he was? But we’ll talk about that later.” Clinton promised. Suddenly Rachael falls down on his back, on the ground. A Madrian stood where Rachael had seconds ago, an odd Madrian gun in his hand. In respond to the Earthians’ lurid expressions, he said, “Don’t worry. Not dead yet. Just fainted.”
“Where are you taking him?” cried Charlotte as the four army men pull Rachael by the handcuffs, into one of the sections of the hyper car. Two Madrians meanwhile take the corpse of their poisoned fellow.
The Earthians’ enter the MUSR Headquarters and move towards their elevator. “ I will just use the washroom and return. You all please wait here.” said Emma and went towards the alley where the female washroom resided. “ I am sorry guys, but I hope your friend won’t feel hurt if I don’t wait for her. I need some time to myself.” told Charlotte. “ Absolutely, you should take some rest.” Agreed Clinton and added, “ We’ll wait for her, she is an innocent girl, you know. We want to be together. You reach your room. We’ll follow.” Charlotte obeys and continues to the elevator. “Guys! I forgot, this morning I found that that washroom doesn’t work.” Told Helen suddenly. “ I’ll just tell Emma.” She said and went towards the alley. “ He was your best friend ?”
Ken raised the question suddenly. “ Sorry, what?” asked a startled Clinton. “ Rachael Harley? Your best friend he was, wasn’t he? ” Clinton gave a slight sad smile, “ We three were best buddies. Your dad, Arnold, Rachael and me. They called us ‘the three spacemen’.” “ Salamander said that Rachael had predicted this planet.” “Not only predicted, he was we don’t know how, sure about the existence of this planet. He said that this planet is an evil one. Planning something. Something totally evil for our Earth.” “And you didn’t believe him, did you?” asked Neil. “ Nobody did. We only concentrated on the nine planets of our solar system. He was declared a lunatic when he started talking about saving Earth from these invaders. He said that they will soon invade our country-” “Sorry to disturb you,” interfered Neil suddenly, “ don’t you think it is taking Helen much time just to tell Emma that the washroom doesn’t work?” “ Yeah, right” agreed Ken.
So it was decided that Neil would go and check and if he doesn’t return in two minutes, Clinton would go and if the losing pattern continues, Ken would contact the MUSR authorities. When after two minutes Neil didn’t return, Clinton followed the plan and of course he didn’t return too. As Ken took his Madrian phone out, something strike him, he had seen Kaselie Blackwood moving towards the washroom just before Emma went. This could mean that the Madrians were responsible for this disappearance and following the plan that is, contacting the authorities would mean following their plan which he of course won’t do. So he walked towards the alley.
Ken enters the alley to find a room labeled in stick figure as female washroom. A printed paper which , it seems to him, was pasted minutes ago, said that the washroom is under repair. He cranes his neck in both his sides to confirm nobody sees him peeping in the washroom which he when does, a thumbless hand comes out and pulls him in. Saved from falling in the sink, he turns around to find Kaselie Blackwood backed by all the missing Earthians. She shuts the door and takes a long breath.
As Ken opens his mouth to speak, Helen interferes, “Before you speak anything rubbish, let me tell you Kaselie wants to tell us something important. Something she couldn’t have told in front of everyone.” “In the washroom?” he asked, to which Neil adds, “ and that too female.” “Yes, because this was the safest place!” Kaselie said and explained further, “ See, no men would of course come here and a lady wouldn’t also consider this because it doesn’t work. “ But what is such that you couldn’t tell us in front of your fellow planetians?” asked Ken. “Lot of things are. F we don’t have time, I’ll begin straight away. First of all your deal is a lie!” “Huh?” “I’ll explain. Salamander never really wanted this deal. He always wanted a reason to be friends with you Earthians.” “What?” “ Okay, I’ll begin with Rachael Harley. Rachael Harley did reach Madre years ago and he did develop a medication abnormality.
But he never harmed anyone! It is true that one attendant died because of him but not one-seventh of our population! Yes, one-seventh of our population has vanished but not because of Harley but because of us, Our developments, our management, our ignorance. To make this simpler, is it true that Earth is being polluted quickly?” “ Yes, it is, in many ones.” Someone replied. “Right, we were also in the same condition years ago. But we ignored it, that’s what I have heard. Soon our planet depleted. There is nothing like ozone layer in our atmosphere any more. You remember the apple tree you had seen in the church? That is one of the only seven trees left on our planet. Whatever greenery you saw since you have arrived, it is all artificial. Whatever vegetation you had in the breakfast, it was all laboratory cultivation.
The oxygen level in our air is so low that we take artificial oxygen. You remember the special drink you were being insisted to drink at breakfast? It was indeed a special drink. Not in taste but in use. Every Madrian takes doses of it every day. It increases the hemoglobin your blood so that your body doesn’t require much oxygen. You were forced to drink the liquid because Salamander didn’t want you to realize any problems in breathing. But that drink isn’t that helpful. Out of the population left, one out of every ten Madrian faces blood cancer because of this drink. I myself am a patient.”
“You have cancers on this planet?” asked Helen. “Of course we have. Almost everything you find on Earth is there on Madre including the diseases.” “What about oranges ? What is the matter between you people and oranges?” “Yes, this can be very useful for you.
Genetically oranges are something Madrians dread very much. We all are highly allergic to them. It is not like a normal Earthian allergy. All Madrians’ immune systems are very well developed. And your weapons especially your normal bullets cannot do anything to a Madrian.” “Oh yes, it slipped off my mind,” spoke up Neil, “In the graveyard, I by mistake pressed the trigger of my pistol and it fired into a Madrian’s shoulder, but you know what? Nothing happened to him, he acted as it was a minute injury and moved on!” “Exactly. Your guns do nothing to us but if the army man you had shot had consumed an orange just before the incident, he would have instantly died after you shot.
Because oranges weaken our immune system so much that sometimes people die eating oranges. Earlier, criminals were punished by giving them a daily dosage of oranges but now as you know trees have disappeared.” “You would of course have exceptions? There would be some Madrian who isn’t affected by oranges?” asked Neil. “Not that we know.” “What about your ears?” asked Helen, when she noticed that Kaselie didn’t know the term, she pointed to her ears. “Oh! Yes we don’t have these. We have internal hearing organs.” “But we saw your President’s ears!” said Ken. “Right. Though sometimes Madrians do develop tiny membranes on the edges of their face, Great Salamander is the only Madrian known to have full two – what you call them? Yes ears. That is his specialty you can say. He takes special care of them. Loves his specialty.” “I am not getting one thing, you earlier said that Rachael Harley never harmed anyone, but then why did you want to catch him? And if you did then why and how did you find it difficult to catch him?” asked Neil. “This was all Salamander’s plan, he never let anyone catch Harley, kept a close eye on him and waited for twenty years to pass by so that you all believe us and you did! Not even Madrians know what goes in his dirty mind!” “But why? Why did he do this?” “Evacuation! He wants you all Earthians to evacuate your own planet Earth.” “Pardon!” “Salamander always has long term plans. Rachael Harley was just a medium to be friends with you.”
Helen suddenly bursts out, “Why should we believe in you? From last few minutes you are continuously speaking rubbish! Now tell us why should we believe you?” Kaselie maintains the equanimity and said, “if you don’t believe me then do one thing, go and ask for anything from Salamander. Anything you are sure he won’t give. Yes- ask for Rachael, ask him to free Rachael and let him go back to Earth with you. If the deal is true and the purpose of it was to summon Harley then he would of course deny. But if it was just to contact you in terms of friendship then-” “But what exactly do you want to say? Why do we have to evacuate? We won’t of course evacuate our planet just because you are our friends?” asked Neil. “You won’t but as I told you Salamander thinks in long terms. He had something planned.
On Madre everyone especially those working in MUSR are taught everything about you all. We have watched almost all your sci-fi movies including Jurassic Park. The idea that movie gave Salamander was of cloning dinosaurs to kill you all. To get the planet evacuated. Till the time we watched the movie, TTU that is, Time Travelling Units were invented, which you all commonly call time machines. Here you are going to know the answer to the biggest question of your history! Salamander took the TTU with him and went on a space trip to Earth. Just half a light year away from Earth, Salamander went around 67 million years back into time when I think something like later cretaceous period was going to end. Salamander did something which gives you the answer to the huge question. He dropped nuclear bombs. Around sixty bombs were dropped. Not only the dinosaurs died, the planet could not conceive the species which came afterwards.”
The silence in the washroom would have continued Neil hadn’t heard someone coming towards the washroom. Kaselie opened the door saying that nobody should know that there was someone in who shut the door. The three cubicles were hurriedly occupied to hide. Emma and Helen in one, Neil and Forbes and being the two left, Ken and Kaselie in one. It seemed that for few minutes all the six stopped breathing. Someone entered the washroom who would of course be a lady. “All the three our occupied!” the lady remarked.
Meanwhile Kaselie was continuously shushing Ken as he was whispering something continuously. “Why are you helping us? Whatever he is doing it’s for your planet only?” after staring him for few seconds she finally replied, “Because Salamander isn’t a good man. He plans to evacuate the Earth, kill you all, and then he won’t take every Madrian. He’ll just take Madrians from five years of age to forty. Others would be left here to be killed by their fates.”
“I am still not getting it.” said Helen who sat beside Emma on the bed in Neil’s room. “For a second if I agree with her that Madrians were the reason t o extinction of dinosaurs but how is it related to our evacuation?” “Helen, she didn’t get time to tell us that, did she?” Neil said. “She didn’t , but does that mean that we are never going to know about it! She says she cannot tell us in front of her fellow Madrians.” “She told me.” said Ken. “What?” “When we were hidden in the cubicle she told me what was Salamander’s plan to evacuate Earth.” “What are you waiting for then? Tell us!” “ Are you sure this place is not spied? That’s the reason Kaselie wanted to tell us in the washroom because nobody would spy on a washroom.” “Does that mean we’ll never know about it?” “No Helen, we can know on Earth.” Suggested Neil. “No I cannot wait till then.” Said Helen and brought a notebook and pen out and gave them to Ken. “You remember the code language we were taught in our training stage? Write everything down on this notebook in the code.” “Helen, stop this childish behavior now. We can wait till we reach Earth.” Said Neil. “Neil, it is of no use. She is very stubborn, you know.” Said Ken and wrote down the codes obediently.
Everyone but Ken read the codes and decoded them in their minds, making out their sense and then resumed reading further. The codes told them how when Salamander had dropped the bombs, he had extracted the DNAs of some of the most dangerous carnivores and how the movie Jurassic Park had gave him the idea of cloning dinosaurs. How he now plans and is working on genetic modification of DNA and cloning of dinosaurs. How he wants to release them on Earth so that the dinosaurs soon destroy the life on Earth. All of them read and understood the meaning and sense of the codes but nobody uttered a word, because of different reasons. Someone because of the fear of being spied, someone in shock and someone in imitation to the others.
“Gentlemen, today we bade goodbye to our new friends, the Earthians,” said the president of the planet Madre as the six visitors stood near the Madrian cucumber like space ship, ready to board and go back to their own planet, “who have proved their friendship by helping us catch the criminal whom we were chasing since years and who would now be punished for what he – yes Dr. Stilton you want to say something?” Ken put his raised hand down and said, “Yes, I want to. I have really liked this place, before we leave this place, I want to take something with me. Can I ask for a present?” After this question is raised, Emma notices a spark in Kaselie’s eye “Yes, of course you can. Ask for anything. I’ll bring you Venus.” “Not Venus, but I want Rachael Harley.” An awkward silence seeps into the hall. When Salamander doesn’t reply, Ken said, “Free Rachael Harley and let him come with us. Is it too fastidious?” “No, not at all. Leo, Ray bring Harley from the cell, he’ll board the ship to Earth.” Salamander ordered. A wide smile comes on the white face of Charlotte which brightens just as the sky does after dawn.
The trip back to Earth was a very awkward trip with Charlotte sitting with a head on her father’s shoulder and all the others sitting quietly, each of their minds being pondered with thousands of questions.
What would they do now? Kaselie had proved herself right. Salamander was a bad mind! But what now? War? But how? Their weapons are nothing in front of the Madrian arms. All of this had happened so quickly, the five hadn’t even got any time to silently and deeply think about it.
They couldn’t even call military for this, could they? They had kept all of this highly confidential and now they would have to explain it all to them. It would take them so much of time to make them believe on this. Had they got that much of time? NASA researchers had always expected aliens to exist somewhere had wanted it too but others would find it too hypothetical and fictionist.
The C.O.D (Celestial Observation Department) room was occupied by no work today but a topic to discuss about. “What are we up to next?” asked Neil. “Don’t know.” Replied Clinton. “But I know,” said Ken, “First of all we need to know how was or how is Salamander able to keep an eye on us light years away. Because we cannot actually do anything till the time Salamander spies on us.” “You told that he knew our names beforehand, right? This means that he had a special eye on C.O.D only.” Said Clinton.
After a few minutes you find the room full of a great hustle-bustle. Neil and Emma were questioning number of officials who worked in the department, trying their best not to reveal anything about the alien invasion. Clinton checked the C.C.T.V record of the room, Helen and Ken searched for anything suspicious and odd which was capable of transmitting messages. All the file records, research albums and sound wave records were rummaged but Ken finds nothing. His thoughts roam over and over but nothing comes to his mind. Rolling his eyes round the room, his eyes go to the twenty year old meteorite preserved in a show casing glass. “Doctor.” He called, Clinton turned and said, “Yes,” “Come here.” “What is it dear? Did you find anything?” “When was this meteorite discovered?” “Something like twenty years ago, by your dad. I have told this to you many times, but why are you asking again?” “How did my dad die?” “By an unknown allergy. Your dad was allergic to many unfamiliar substances. Once he touched moon sand brought by some astronauts, he had to be hospitalized for weeks.” Ken paused before giving any reaction and then suddenly removed the glass of the case and with his gloved hands threw the meteorite into the discard bin, shut the lid and slided the bin outside the room.
“Would you now explain, why did you do that? Why did you throw the meteorite?” Clinton asked as the door shuts and only the five are left in the room. “My dad died twenty years ago, few days after finding that meteorite, right?” “Yes, he did, this was his last discovery, that’s why I had kept that preserved-” “This was what they were using since twenty years!” “Huh?” “Twenty years ago, Salamander would have sent this meteorite like rock on Earth, just near NASA headquarters. My dad had touched so many meteorites but he never got allergic to them! But this meteorite was not actually a meteorite but an actually alien rock! He thus got allergic to it and died.” “You mean that meteorite like rock works like a spy camera?”Neil asked. “That is what I think!” “You are right,” agreed Helen, “that meteorite never satisfied me as a meteorite.” “But if that’s so then, they would have seen us investigating against them! And you threw the rock, so they might know that we don’t trust them.” said Emma. “ We have to take the risk, I guess. And it depends on their thinking too, they might think that to their fate we thought of the rock as a waste and discarded it. And NASA many times does that, it discards things like meteorites on a regular basis, maybe for an auction or something else.” suggested Ken. “ So what now?” “Go to bed.” yawns Ken.
“Oh no! Not again!” cried Emma the next morning. “What happened?” asked Ken. “ The screen.” She pointed. The black screen possessed a green spot once again. “Maybe they are coming for a negotiation?” suggested Neil. “I think they got suspicious by our yesterday’s act.” puts in Clinton. “We don’t trust them. What are we going to do?” asked Helen. “Fight,” said Ken. “Eh?” “Yes, this is the time. We have to finish it before he does. Before they play their next piece, we should finish this. We cannot let them play with our lives! We will not evacuate our planet! We cannot let our whole Earth suffer just because of our curiosity and our greed for the theories that thumbless fool boasts about!” “Oh! Whatever it is, do it fast, they will soon enter the atmosphere!” reminded Emma. “Helen, this is no time to drink!” Neil told Helen, “and I guess you promised not to touch alcohol?” “This is no alcohol. But it looks like one, doesn’t it? A mock tail. Richard. He is new worker in the pantry. A very good beverage maker indeed!” Helen boasted. “Mock tails!” an idea struck Ken, “Okay, Helen tell this Richard to make as many orange mock tails as he can. They should look just like alcohol and shouldn’t even taste like oranges.” He commanded, “Neil, we need an open place, enough to accommodate hundred people, we don’t know how much force he is bringing. We also need water guns.” “Water guns?” “Yes , and lots of oranges. Weapons. Force of course. One chopper, or two.” “But what are you going to do?”
The cucumber ship lands on the barren orchard and a curly headed figure emerges out. “Greetings dear friend. Greetings!” “Greetings.’ Greeted Ken. “I am here to complete my part of negotiation.” “I know. Just that this time the conversation would be where I am comfortable. In front of my fellows, under the shade of my planet’s nature, in the open.” “Course. As you say,” Salamander replied. And commanded his force, “Men, follow me.” “Don’t worry, your ship will be absolutely safe here. And we are not farther than half a mile.” “No problem. Let’s move. I cannot wait to present the negotiation.”
A thumbless man and Ken, followed by fifty other thumbless aliens entered a hundred square meter land surrounded by a concrete building at one side. Two small couches were set across each other in the centre of the yard. Twenty armed Earthians stood aligned near the four familiar faces who stood together, “Welcome!” beamed Clinton. “Have a seat please.” Salamander sat on one of the sofas across Ken and Clinton while the other three stood beside their fellows sitting. “Where and how are the Harleys? Has Rachael told anything about how he managed that long journey to Madre?” asked Salamander. “They are fine, in their ancestral bunglow I guess. And no, Rachael is kind of depressed right now, his treatment and research on his abnormality is going on, he hasn’t spoke up anything about the trip till now.” told Ken. “Pretty disappointing I admit. Well let’s not waste time, we should be on work.” Said Salamander. “Right, what’s the theory you have brought?” asked Clinton. “Today I have brought two gifts for you. One is your first theory which you of course deserve, and the second is another deal based on it.” “One more?” asked Neil. “No, don’t worry, you won’t have to visit us this time. Just hear me out.” promised Salamander.
A bearded waiter entered the yard, with a trolley filled with number glasses and around eighteen to nineteen alcoholic bottles. He served glasses filled almost to rims to everyone include the fifty armed Madrians and the Earthians of course. “Oh, what kind of wine is this?” asked Salamander as the waiter served him. “This is a special beverage sir, mixture of two to three different wines and tails.” The waiter replied. “Thank you Richard,” said Helen, “you can leave now. We’ll serve others.” Richard moves as Helen and Neil get to work.
“Yes, Salamander, so you were talking about another deal?” reminded Clinton. “Yes,” said Salamander while sipping his drink, “I’ll begin with the theory. This theory is very much or entirely related to your planet’s history. We were very much inspired to your movie Jurassic Park which was based on cloning of dinosaurs. We used T.T.Us that is TIME TRAVELLING UNITS which you all commonly know as time machines, to go back in time. The day we had travelled back in time was to your fortune the day that thing had happened.” Salamander paused probably to create suspense in people who already had heard the story. What they were wondering was whether Salamander would confess that he was the reason of dinosaurs’ extinction or would sew some other story.
“We saw another spaceship emerge from the time hole and move towards the Earth. We were just there to observe and so we did. After the ship was at the edge of your troposphere, it started throwing something on Earth, after sometime we noticed that it was not the only ship which did so, there were many other same kinds of ships throwing the same thing at different angles. The thing they were throwing destroyed most of the land it was thrown on. After few such casts, we realized they were nuclear bombs they were throwing.
The five Earthians were not actually surprised by the cunning smartness of Salamander. How he narrated the actual story by replacing their action by someone else’s!
Salamander suddenly began coughing. Maybe the orange had started working. “Continue, Salamander.” asked Clinton. “Yes, we went back to our planet and kept a close eye on Earth through T.T.U satellites. Soon we found that dinosaurs never survived in the time that came after that. The species that came afterwards couldn’t survive either.” “Did you find who the attackers were?” asked Helen. “No, it is almost impossible to trace someone through a time tunnel. But as we witnessed it, we took some samples of the DNAs of some of the dinosaurs.” Another Madrian sneezed and some other coughed. Ignoring this, Salamander continued, “So, here we reach our deal. I offer, you all can put up amusement parks just like in the movie with our help.
We’ll send cloned dinosaurs or their eggs to you regularly.” Salamander pauses and unrolled a world map of Earth and with red ink, marked some points. After making fifteen such points, he said, “In each of these countries, there would be at least two parks built. This way you’ll make a good business.’’ “Wow, it is really worth something!” Helen gave a fake compliment. “But what is your benefit in it?” asked Neil. Before Salamander can answer, Ken spoke up, “You want something in return, right?” and then quickly added, “Maybe---Evacuation?
You want us to evacuate our planet, right? If not through deal then through death!” “Who told you? Blackwood, right? Very over smart girl. Don’t worry but, she is already being punished for her act of suggesting you to ask for freedom of Harley.” As all the five glare at him in exasperation and shocking surprise, he continues, “What is benefit in it you asked, right? Well, in return of the Jurassic Park thing, I was going to ask for a piece of land at your Earth for the residency of some of our Madrians. But now as I know you are not going to do that, you were right Ken, ‘IF NOT THROUGH DEAL THEN THROUGH DEATH!’” A threatening silence comes over the yard which is broken by Salamander once again, “I no more offer but threaten you to give us a four thousand square meter land or else we’ll make you Earthians evacuate this planet! We’ll invade your planet!
A Grand Invasion will take place on your planet! The decision is in your five fingered hands.” After a thoughtful pause, Ken answered, “If we agree to give you the asked land, we know the result will be the same as the latter, you’ll soon take over our planet and invade it. We thus deny. It’s a pure NO Salamander, a pure No.” “What will you do next? Run to your poor planet?” asked Helen. “You have already known me Earthians. And don’t forget our highly developed weapons and a force of fifty men and I am sure no military of yours knows about me, so your typically weak in front of me and my strong force.” grinned Salamander.
Three Madrians suddenly fall to ground to an unconscious state. “Helen, I smell oranges!” Neil gave a fake remark. A widen eyed Salamander glared at the drink in his hand and screamed, “Men, fire!” “Fire!” ordered Clinton. Both the sides started firing but what is this? The Earthian soldiers were not firing bullets but orange juice through water guns. Neil ran down spraying orange fragrance in every direction. The Madrian soldiers, not able to understand anything, found orange attacks from every direction. Still trying their best to fight back, they shot with their ultimate guns in the directions they found Earthian enemies.
Ken and Emma shot with their pistols on Madrian men who were already weakened by orange attacks. Salamander with his ultimate gun, shot Earthian soldiers but got distracted by the orange fragrance and orange attacks he receives. Clinton signaled someone through his black walkie-talkie and waited for the chopper to arrive. “What are the helicopters going to do?” shouted Helen over the arriving chopper sound and the already present commotion in the ground. “Drop bombs.” beamed Clinton. “Bombs?” “Water bombs filled with orange juice.” “But Kaselie said that allergic reaction takes place when Madrians consume oranges. She didn’t mention anything about being in contact with them, did she?” “No, she didn’t but don’t you see that these people are phobiatic to oranges. They panic at the sight of oranges! That fear of theirs can be very useful for us.” Helen nodded, remembering how the Madrian girl had reacted to her orange candies and how the liftman had screamed on the sound of word ‘orange’.
Large baskets of oranges were brought and Earthians threw peeled or even unpeeled oranges on the Madrians. Most of the Madrians fell to death on being shot by guns after orange attacks. Some fell down in exhaustion and suffocation due to being surrounded by oranges from every direction. Salamander lay on the ground with his thumbless hands on both his ears to protect them from any orange attack. Still not giving up, the alien stood up, picked up his gun and spotted a forty year old man and shoots him where his heart was.
Ken heard a scream of a familiar voice. “Doctor!” cried Helen. Ken ran to his forty five year old mentor who had brought him up as a seven year old orphan. “Doctor!” he cried as Clinton fell to the ground. Slowly he opened his eyes to find his brave and lovely student rather a son, Ken Stilton, “Son,” he manages to utter. “Don’t speak Doctor, please don’t. Helen call a doctor, a stretcher instead, he needs to be operated immediately.” Ken ordered. “No son,” Clinton said, “I can feel my end coming. Just hear my last words.” “Why last, Doctor? They are not your last words, you are not going anywhere.” “Just remember your dad was a great man. He always said ‘NEVER HURT ANYONE WHERE HIS SPECIALITY LIES BECAUSE IT HURTS THE HARDEST ON YOUR SPECIALTY’ and son, your specialty is your bravery. Never let it down, Son. Never.” “I will not. Doctor, I will not. You’ll be fine.” “Ken,” someone spoke, “He is no more.”
Finding his away amongst the orange flavored commotion, Salamander ran towards the barren orchard. Trying his best to breathe in the orange fragranced air, he put his two thumbless hands on each of his ears once again. Not daring to stop for a moment, he ran recklessly. “Running away, coward?” screamed a female voice. He turned to find the girl called Helen waiting with a pistol pointed at him. Ignoring her, turned to continue running but to only find Neil blocking his path. To his right stood Emma and to left Ken Stilton. A pusillanimous Salamander stood blocked from the four sides, with no way to run, he pleaded, “Leave me. I am of no use to you.” “Exactly. Useless.” Said Helen and shot into his left chest just where he had shot Clinton. The alien receives another bullet at his back by Neil and another at the belly. “A cunning animal like you should suffer from the hardest pain it can,” said Ken, “And ‘It hurts the hardest where your speciality lies’.” He quoted and fired through Salamander’s left hearing organ. “What do you think?” uttered a dying Salamander, “Madrians will not avenge my death? You’ll kill their President and they’ll be hushed?”