Jail. It’s like Saturn.
Educating the Locals
Come on kids, open the door to the friendly alien, I thought while panting anxiously on the front porch. Six galaxies from home; an entire solar system on the brink of war; and they still scheduled date nights. Not that I minded, babysitting was a paying gig. Though after tonight they probably wouldn’t be going out much.
Laser blasters echoed in the distance by the time someone opened the door. A true local: I could tell by the set of extra arms, yellow tinged mouth, and slight smell of boiled eggs.
The Rovarion bore two blue ridged bones plates on her chest that categorized her as a breeding female. She bowed before babbling at me in an alien language while I stood there with a pained smile. I really needed to get enough money to upgrade my translator. Mine took about fifteen minutes to boot up, and crashed every thirty. Tonight was going to be interesting, and not just because I’d decided to moonlight behind Sventer’s back.
“Klako?” I asked, clicking my tongue around the foreign name.
She let out a long breath. “Caarrter?”
When I nodded she allowed me inside.
Eventually we communicated enough for her to introduce her young, before my translator powered on and Klako dragged her partner to the transport beam. They took off like a shooting star for their evening’s entertainment, willingly leaving their offspring with a stranger on a night as momentous as this one.
Closing the curtains quickly before anyone could notice the blasts of light rapidly flashing on the outskirts of town, I smiled at my two captives. I’d never supervised Rovarion young before, so I hoped it wasn’t a sign they’d take as aggression. “So…” I said, swinging my hands together as I swayed back on my heels. “You two ready to play a game?”
They were staring at me like I was the one with four purple arms.
Removing my backpack, I knelt on the floor and reverently pulled out my most treasured possession: a board game from my home planet. Finally, new competitors. No one in my squad would play anymore. I’d been known to drag my rounds out over days and weeks, lording over my opponents.
The boy got curious and wandered over, though his sister was still wary. “This constellation map cannot be accurate. What sort of system is coloured coded, with all the planets equal in size?”
I shook my head while I took the property cards out of the box. “It’s like a market. You know, not in space.”
He sat down on the floor next to me with his legs crossed, tilting his head to read the board. “And what is j-ail?” His yellow mouth stuttered around the unfamiliar word.
“It’s kind of like Saturn,” I shrugged, and a tremor of revulsion shuddered down his spine. Or thorax, whatever these guys had.
A loud explosion rocked the house, and his sister darted over with a shriek. “Solar flare,” I excused, grabbing my space phone from my bag and cranking up some music. “Pick a game piece.”
I held out the box, and all four of the boy’s hands were suddenly scrambling inside. “Moon vehicle,” he declared, selecting the car.
His sister picked an ‘interstellar drive,’ otherwise known as a thimble, and we began the game.
Adjusting the music louder as the evening wore on, I was having trouble disguising the sounds of fighting on the streets. It was definitely getting closer. They were going to ruin my game.
I’d just landed on a hotel when the front door burst open, filling the room with more of my own species. Only I didn’t bring a sonic blaster with me. Or grenades.
“Um, hi?” I offered weakly when flashes of recognition crossed the soldiers’ faces. I was in so much trouble.
Commander Sventer’s face reddened like it might explode. “You stowed away on a planet invasion to play Monopoly with the locals?” Letting out a yell, his voice thundered down the hall. “GET YOUR ASS BACK TO THE SPACE STATION, CARTER, WHERE YOU BELONG!”
Acting cowed, I threw the game pieces back in the box.
Secretly I wasn’t truly bothered. Little brats had been winning.