Sharing is Caring

PUNCH/PANTS is a collection of stories spanning all my writing days.  From the age of 16 to just very recently.  There are six "old" stories, six "new" stories, including a motion picture script, and one story set between them, a sort of middle ground story.  There are of course short stories old and new that I didn't include...one must have material to share in other collections!  There's also stories I have put a lot of effort into, only to be terribly ashamed of them later.  I would invite you to "lol" at that.  I'm certain every writer can look back on their catalog and cringe at a few pieces.

But one story in particular, written in 1996, well before a popular science fiction action movie was released to theaters, suffered a fate I know must be common.  I'm sure you've noticed sometimes Hollywood churns out a few movies nearly identical in plot.  Just this year we had two Snow White re-imaginings.  Deep Impact and Armageddon came out close to each other as well.  I wrote a first contact, alien war scenario the same year such a movie came out.  Mine diverges significantly, but major plot elements turned out eerily similar.  To which I felt almost ashamed.  Had I read something somewhere that had permeated my subconscious?  So I've decided to share it here, for free, as an example of my older fiction.

In going over it to edit some grammar in order to present it in the softest light possible, I realized I was being slightly prolific.  Remember, this was written in 1996, it's post-apocalyptic before that was even a phrase, my protagonists are "uni-pirates," acting single-handed but as part of an information sharing internet terrorist organization, before there was ever a Wikileaks or Anonymous.  Their names and underground society devised long before the Matrix reinvented cyber-punk.  I'm no pioneer, but sometimes going back over old fiction that I'm terrified will embarrass me as I read it, I find the stuff I came up with surprises me today, and maybe I could learn from my younger self.

But I'll let you be the judge.

***



CONTACT:
THE YEAR WE WERE NOT ALONE
1996

Many dates are recognized as important; some of these dates are celebrated as holidays.  January 1, the start of a new journey ‘round the sun, April 7, the assumed crucifixion date of the lord Jesus Christ.  Then there are those dates that aren't so illustrious, December 7, 1941, the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing.
Another date, one as of yet not recognized, has taken on many possible dates in the future, July 1999 AD, June 6, 2006, December 21, 2012.  Anyway you say the date, it still says the same thing:
Doomsday.
Many people have said that this is the day that the Lord in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name, will wreak vengeance on those who oppose Him.  The Earth will be torn and mutilated by the hand of God, but on that same hand, the faithful will be saved and brought into Heaven's gates.
But what if it is not God that tears into the flesh of our Mother Earth?  What could we do to save ourselves from such violence?
This is the possible answer to a possible future:
Fight back.

In the year 1946, in a small, little-known town of Roswell, New Mexico, something crashed.  This object was identified by a local military official as being a craft from outer space.  When the government caught wind of the incident, they rushed to the scene.  That official who identified the wreckage was told to recall his statement.  A day later, he was seen on the front of the local newspaper, holding fragments of a weather balloon.  The wreck was a hoax.
            Fifty years later, a seemingly old film reel, showed the autopsy of an alien creature.  Many specialists discredited the film as an elaborate joke, to play on the fears and fantasies of the public.
            Many people of the United States, and other countries, still believed in the existence of extraterrestrial life and intelligent life from beyond our own planet.  It wasn’t until twenty years after the turn of the century that we would again get a chance to see real life from another star.
*          *          *
            In the sewers of Roswell, New Mexico, a computer screen glows bright.  The semi-terrorist group known as Tekies has taken their mission underground.  They developed towards the end of the 20th century, but were scattered when the threat of a complete technological breakdown struck the world.  It was in there mind that the truth was all that was important.
            They began to download viruses onto the World Wide Web (WWW) that would force people to read material the government was holding as secret.  It was all made up, of course, but they littered the Web with viruses until it nearly broke down.
            Then a third World War tried to break its way into society.  This completely eradicated the Tekies, or so thought the government.  Teky uni-pirates began to strike at the Web, not with viruses, but with Web pages.  The pages adorned strange names, which were soon found to be the nick names of the underground Tekies.
            The computer screen belonged to one of these few uni-pirates.  Twelve years old and as intelligent as a leading computer specialist, Maggot would never forget these last few years.
*          *          *
            The computer screen read:  "APRIL; WEDNESDAY; 29; 2020; CNN broadcasting stations claim an unidentified object beyond Earth's orbit...see www.cnn/ufo/user.com for more information."
            Maggot was surprised at what he read.  Usually he didn't care for the news.  Most of the time it was depressing, but now...whoa boy!
            "Computer,” he said into his small microphone.  The computer made a small chime in response.  "Go to highlighted web site."  He said as he touched the screen.
            The computer quickly changed the image and Maggot was seeing something he thought he would never see.  Glowing bright in the darkness of his room, an unused sewer pipe, was the image of a large triangular ship.
            Jesus H. Christ, he thought.  That looks like an American fighter jet, only about 60 times bigger.
            He stood up from his makeshift desk so quickly he rammed his head into the top of the pipe.  The sound was a dull thud that echoed through the corridor, waking his little sister, PR (Pipe Runner).  She was only six and had only recently been given her Teky name.  It fit her well; she could squeeze through almost any pipe in the sewer that served as the Teky home.
            "What's the matter Maggot?" she asked.
            He looked back at her sprawled in a torn hammock, her butt hanging out one of the larger holes as though she would fall out.  She was incredibly small, even for a six year old.
            "There's an object, or somethin', just out of Earth's orbit."  He answered.
            She gave him a quizzical look.  "The Moon?" she said sarcastically.
            He let out a loud sigh and said:  "No, dummy..."
            "You mean the Moon's gone?"
            He growled and she laughed.  "There seems to be a UFO just hanging there."
            She again looked confused, only this time she really was.  He tried to find words to explain the situation but he didn't have to.  Maggot and PR's guardian, Link, burst in through the small plank door.  Light poured in from the stage lights in the chamber just beyond, along with the sound of mumbling people.
            "Maggot, PR,” he yelled, "get out here quick!"
            PR relaxed her body and slid through the hole she was laying in.  Maggot dashed for the door before PR could reach it.  They both ran down the metal stair case after Link.  Every single monitor in the chamber was turned on to the image of the object.  The very few television sets were also on.  Maggot stepped over to one of them and concentrated on what was being said by the anchor woman.
            "...ficials say that the object is...a...and tha...it...ore on... as it develo..."
            It frustrated him not to be able to catch the entire report.  He turned and everyone that lived in their sector of the sewer was looking up.  The image on all the monitors had changed to a live feed from the Russian space station, Mir II.  The image was choppy, which was to be expected, but it was easy to tell what was going on.
            The large triangular ship looked more detailed now; it was possible to see small flying objects hovering around it like bees to a hive.  Maggot knew immediately that this was not good.  It was obvious that whatever that thing was, it was alien, and from the looks, hostile.
            A girl’s voice broke into Maggot's thinking.  "Maggot, do you have any idea what that is?"
            He looked to the girl, it was Lucid, she was fourteen and very tall, Maggot had a crush on her, but she didn't know.  As far as Maggot could tell, Lucid hadn't noticed him.
            "Yeah, it's a UFO, only we've identified it."  He said.
            She looked at him with surprise.  "Well?  What is it?"
            He closed his eyes and shook his head.  "I was watching the news report but with all this noise I couldn't hear what was said.  But from what I did hear, officials know what it is.  With my luck, they said it was a meteor."
            She laughed.  "Probably.  I have a set in my room, no noise there, if you need to hear the report you can watch it there."
            He looked at her wide eyed.  She hadn't even been looking at him when she said it.  It was nothing to her that she had just invited him to her room.  But to her he was just going to watch a news report, it wasn't like they were going up there for something else.
            She grabbed his hand and led him through the crowd of Tekies, all gawking at the monitors.  They raced through to a fire escape stair case that led to one of the higher pipes.
            Lucid began to climb the ladder, Maggot watched with a boyish grin as she ascended to the top.  She looked back down at him and saw that he was staring at her; she smiled and hollered for him to hurry up.  He blushed and cursed himself, then grabbed the ladder.
            When Maggot reached her room, which was quite a ways down the uppermost corridor, he was surprised at what he saw.  Her room was bland, yet extravagant in Teky terms.  She had a battered oak desk, a cushioned rolling chair, a top of the line computer, and a firm cot with a blanket.  Nothing much, but this was all one needed to be a uni-pirate.  He became totally speechless when he saw what she quickly pulled off the wall when he entered her room.
            It was a picture of him, pretty recent too.  It was him, late at night, when the lights had dimmed, in the main chamber, looking up at one of the computer monitors.  Nothing real flattering, but it was all he could do to suppress a laugh of joy.
            She stifled a blush then pulled out from one of the boxes in the far corner, a small TV.  She plugged it in and hooked it up to a small cable port.  She flicked it on and a black and white haze came, she turned the dial to the channel Maggot had been watching.  The picture came in and the sound came later.
            "Again," the anchor woman said.  "We would like to report that the object outside of Earth's orbit is that of an extraterrestrial vessel, but the military is saying that there is no reason to panic.  It has been estimated that the vessel has been there for at least two days, and has not made any advancements or any signs of hostility."
            Maggot turned the TV off quickly.  "That, you realize, is bullshit."  He said toward Lucid, forgetting himself.
            Lucid seemed not to mind, she only nodded.  PR knocked on the plank door of Lucid's room, an old storage room, and opened it slightly.  She peeked her head in slowly, making sure as to not impede too much.
            "Maggot?" she said without looking into the room totally.  "Maggot, Link wants to see you.  He said you might understand something they just found..."
            "Why me?  There're half a dozen other people who would know far more than..."
            "Maggot," she said firmly.
            Maggot let his shoulders slump then looked at Lucid, she nodded for him to go.  He nodded to her in farewell then said:
            "I guess now you can put the picture back up."  He said with a sheepish smile.
            Her face turned dark and she blew the hair up off her forehead.  He laughed then stepped through the door.  PR looked at him and was about to ask, but Maggot only shook his head.
            They both climbed down the ladder rather quickly, Link stood in wait at the bottom.  PR landed first and backed up so Maggot could get down, too.  When he did land, he looked at Link with big eyes, fearing the worst.
            "Don't look at me like that,” Link said.  "You're not in trouble.  I just needed to know if you could identify this."
            Link put a printed-out picture toward Maggot.  Maggot took it and looked it over.  At first he couldn't tell what it was, but soon enough he could see the vessel with all its little ships.  One problem though, one of those little ships had an American flag tattooed on its tail.  Three other ships were pointed (or what looked like pointed) at the American plane.
            There were two problems with this situation:  1.) How did the American plane get out there, and 2.) what was it doing out there.  Of course there was the question of what the other ships were going to do, but that would be answered soon enough, in fact it was answered immediately.
            All the computer monitors flashed up a new image, Mir II's camera again, there were blue light beams and flashes of red clouds that would go out very quickly.  Just by one (no, more like twenty) pilot’s orders to fly out into space and see the aliens, battle had begun.
            The image was shut down after about six explosions.  A banner flashed up on the screens, stating:  "This site has been shut down by the United States Government.  If you try to relocate the site, your actions will be terminated."  Only slightly unnerving, but Tekies were already at work on relocating the site.
            The site was then found at www.mir2/camera.com.  The chamber of people watched the monitors again, but they went blank before anything could happen.  The screens were blank except for one small message.  "Your computer has committed an unlawful act.  This program will be terminated."  Below the message was a little "OK" button.  Someone clicked on it, the panel went away, but the screen never came back.  People were mystified at what they had seen.  No government would be able to hold a war with an alien race secret.
            Lucid had now stepped out onto her balcony stairway.  She yelled, "They just announced on the news that a war has begun.  The alien ships are headed here, to Roswell, to Nevada, to California, to Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, and Australia, plus random other areas I can't remember.  They're saying for all citizens to retreat underground."
            All the Tekies looked at her, and then started scrambling.  Maggot seemed to be the only calm one of the crowd.  He made his way through the surge of bodies to the main ladder that led to the street.  He began to wonder what all those places had in significance; some of them came to him.
            Roswell was the crash site of an unidentified craft nearly a century ago.  Nevada was the location of the denied Area 51.  California was the home to the JPL, Japan had the UFO Museum.  Germany had once conducted tests with advanced technology of unknown origins.  Mexico had many restricted government areas.  Some of them seemed to be of political importance, but why?
            Maggot was halfway up the ladder when he looked back down to the floor.  The people were running all over the place, scaling other ladders, in and out of doors and tunnels.  He continued up and reached the man-hole.  He pushed it open and saw a rush of feet.
            The scene above ground was the same as below.  He climbed his way out and looked skyward.  In the atmosphere alien ships buzzed all over the place.  Apparently, the aliens couldn't do so well in Earth's gravity; US ships were shooting them down at random.  One ship crashed no more than five hundred feet from Maggot.
            He ran to it, avoiding fires and debris.  Upon close inspection, the ship had a blue/black tinge to it.  Random markings like hieroglyphics were all over it, and a black casing was on the side.
            Upon pushing it, the ship seemed to make a groaning sound, and then the glass-like texture went to water.  Maggot jerked his hand away in surprise, and then he heard a voice behind him.  Had the casing not scared him, he would have jumped into the ship.  But he didn't, and only turned around to see who spoke.
            It was PR and Lucid.  PR was, or had been crying, Maggot looked to Lucid for an answer.
            "Link was crushed by the monitor stand.  There was no way he could have survived.  How's everything up here?"  She said.
            "Take a look for yourself."  He said gesturing to the broken buildings and dwindling fires.  "But there is this thing.  It's one of the aliens, the casing on the side almost turned to water when I pushed on it."
            He turned around to demonstrate.  Only this time the water completely melted away, revealing the body of what appeared to be a dead alien.  Maggot leaned down close to the creature’s head and asked if it was alive.
            PR came in close to look at it, when she stood next to Maggot, the creature’s head tilted slightly, as if to look at her.
            "My name is Pipe Runner, but you can call me PR.  Are you all right?"  Asked PR.
            "I don't think it would understand you, PR, it is from another world."  Maggot responded.
            The creature then looked to Maggot, and spoke.  "To the contrary.  I know your language.  What are you called, your race?"
            The three kids' jaws dropped in unison.  It was awesome enough to see an alien, but to hear one speak in English, perfect English!  Lucid collected herself first and stepped towards the wreckage with the alien looking straight at them.
            "We are children of the race Human.  What are you?" she asked.
            "Children!  We were told there were no children.  How many of you are there, are you the only ones?" the alien asked.
            "No...there's at least millions of children.  Why?"  Maggot said.
            The alien shifted uncomfortably in its cockpit.  Then spoke again; "We, the armed forces of the Ruid, my race, were told that there were no children or innocent bystanders.  Only Human military that were conducting tests and stealing our technology.  I myself had always thought our race a peaceful one.  But it appears that we are not, at least not our superiors."  It shifted again, and then looked at the children.  "I am (garbled noise).  The easiest way to say it is ‘Ghetto.’  I know your name is PR, what are yours?  You may come to help me."
            Lucid and Maggot announced their names proudly, and then helped Ghetto out.  It was standing at about five feet tall, right around the height of Maggot.  It wore an all black uniform that looked like it was plastic muscles in the same placement of the body as a human’s structure.  The stomach seemed to have a valve that could be plugged into the ship.
            It had ball-like shoulder pads with a red gear design printed on them.  The same design was also printed on its back.  It had round pads on its elbows and knees as well.  The shoes looked like military boots without laces or holes for such.  Just snap-on or something.
            The helmet concealed the face completely, the kids had no idea as to what Ghetto looked like underneath.  He had five fingers in the same order as a Human, but they were slightly longer.
            PR asked the first important question, "Are you a boy or a girl?"
            Ghetto looked at her; the helmet had no design to give the feature of a face, just slits that went all down the front.  But PR knew Ghetto was looking at her.  "I am the male equivalent to my race.  But unlike Humans, the males of my race carry the young.  The closest thing I can compare it to on your Earth is that of the aquatic creature called a sea-horse."  He looked back to the other two children.  "Do you understand?"
            They both nodded.  Ghetto then asked the same question of the children.  Lucid tried to explain.
            "I and PR are females.  Maggot is a male."  She felt that it was straight and to the point, but she was embarrassed that she couldn't elaborate any more than that.
            Ghetto asked, "Are you two mates?"
            Lucid and Maggot faced each other and blushed slightly.  The two of them had crushes on each other, but they were too young to be mates.  They simply put it at the same time:  "Not yet."  Ghetto nodded.
            "What is the atmosphere of the planet Earth?" Ghetto asked.
            Maggot tried to remember the exact calculations of gases in the atmosphere, but instead came up with; "I think it's somewhere around 70% Nitrogen, 20% Oxygen, we exhale Carbon Dioxide.  The rest of the atmosphere doesn't affect us directly.  Otherwise I'm not sure."
            "It sounds,” Ghetto said.  "Like there is more Oxygen than what my race breaths, but it is suitable."  And he reached for his helmet.
            He squeezed in on the two flaps that the front slits bled into.  They then hissed air and jutted outward slightly.  The helmet clicked and cocked forward, Ghetto pulled the helmet away.  The children then beheld their very first look into alien eyes.
            They were black, larger than a Humans, but in the same shape.  The rest of the face seemed to have mongoloid features, smooth skin with few lines.  The nose was extremely small and his lips were thin slits.  He had no hair and a larger cranium.  An indescribable mark was tattooed in the center of his forehead.  The helmet gave no indications to this kind of face.
            Although expressionless by Human standards, Ghetto had a silent face.  Pleasant, but disconcerting due to the fact that you couldn't read any emotion.  The eyes stroked to and fro looking around.  Apparently the helmet didn't let him see with his own eyes.
            He breathed in deeply testing the air.  He repeated...and repeated...and repeated.  Maggot asked if he was all right.  Ghetto stopped to answer.
            "The Ruid can adjust their lungs to breathe the air of planets with similar atmospheres to our own.  I am adjusting mine; it will only take a moment."  And he continued.
            The children, even though they knew Ghetto was from an alien civilization, were more comfortable with him.  He looked somewhat human, knew their language thoroughly, and didn't seem dangerous; they accepted him.
            Ghetto finished inhaling and was different somehow.  His pale skin, after taking in more oxygen, had changed to a slightly more pink color.  His voice, when he spoke, was deeper.  "Help me roll my ship over to its correct side."
            The children obeyed and ran to the other side of the ship.  Once on the other side, a thought ran through Maggot's brain, What if he's lying; what if this is what he was told to do if he wrecked?
            Maggot came back around to Ghetto and got right into his face.  "I don't want to scare the girls.  I don't want to scare myself, but I am more intelligent than some of the adults on this planet.  Are you using us, intending on holding us captive or dissecting us?"
            Ghetto sighed.  "That is a very reasonable question.  I was going to ask the same thing of you.  But apparently you are not sent to capture me.  Obviously (He gestured to his wrecked ship), I was not sent to capture you.  No, I am not going to harm you.  I do need your help though.  I have many friends in my force that don't realize we are attacking harmless people.  I need to contact them.  If I wanted you captive or dead, I would have already done it.  Do you understand?"
            Maggot nodded and helped Ghetto (who was extremely strong) push over the ship.  Once right side up, Ghetto climbed into the cockpit.  He plugged a small cord into the nozzle on his belly.  Then pushed on a series of black panels that rippled under his touch.  Garbled noises came from somewhere in the ship.  He repeated garbled noises himself.  The conversation continued for two minutes more.  Ghetto looked at the children and smiled.
            "What did you say?" PR asked.
            "He asked for help from his squadron.  And if I'm right, he told them of his situation, and they were disgusted with their superiors' course of action to attack a basically peaceful people.  Correct?" asked Maggot.
            "Basically.  How did you know?"
            "Wow!  I just guessed at all that, you mean I got the basic idea?"
            "Yes, you may be of more help than I thought.  You say you are more intelligent than others like you.  Do you have knowledge of computers?"
            "Does he ever!" responded Lucid.  "He designed the computer layout and power distribution of our community in the sewers when he was eight years old!"
            "Is that young?" asked Ghetto.
            Maggot looked at him in surprise, but realized what was normal to him may be outlandish to an alien such as Ghetto.  "Yes.  A year is the time it takes our planet to circle our star.  Humans live to be 60 to 80 years old on average.  .  Healthy Humans who keep good care of their bodies can live in excess of one hundred years.  How long do Ruid live?"
            "200 to 250 of your years on average.  Some Ruid have lived to 300.  You may have thought Ruid lived young due to my question.  I had to make sure your knowledge was keen to your age.  Yes, Maggot you are intelligent, what is your age now?"
            "Twelve.  You?"
            "132."
            The children gasped.  For such an old creature, by their standards of age, Ghetto looked so young.  132.  Wow.
            More of the alien ships began to dot the sky.  They were not being attacked, nor were they attacking.  Five of the fighters circled around a larger ship.  A high pitched scream emitted louder and louder as the ships closed.  The children covered their ears when it got too loud.  Ghetto looked at them and saw that their ears were larger and more outstanding than his own.  It made sense that the sound would hurt them.
            The ships landed and stopped screaming.  The kids uncovered their ears and began to induce yawning so that they could again hear.  The fighter cockpits rippled away to reveal more aliens in suits like Ghetto's.  Ghetto unhooked himself from his ship and staggered out to meet his companions.
            Maggot admired the scene.  Six aliens conversing, three human children watching alien robots load the wrecked ship unto the giant vessel.  And the sun shining orange through all the smoke in the sky.  He knew now that Ghetto, at least, was on their side.  Maggot, Lucid, and PR would already be dead with this many aliens around.
            By now the aliens had taken off their helmets and gone through the hyperventilation process.  They all looked exactly like Ghetto except for the designs on their forehead.  Maggot would have to learn each name to a design if he didn't want to look like an idiot.
            Ghetto lead the others to the children and introduced all of them.  The names of the aliens were not discerned or compared to another word; apparently they would not be a major part in their future.  Ghetto asked where they could get a computer so that Maggot could do the work necessary for the plan.
            Maggot explained that the chamber he was living in had plenty of computers and components to do the work explained to him.  The children and Ghetto loaded up onto the larger ship.  It seemed dark at first but a solitary light shone down on them every step they took.  They then entered a giant room that seemed to be a window allowing them to see all around.  It was all computer generated, though.
            Once they were over the point the children explained, the giant room produced a green X-ray effect on the ground allowing them to see into the main chamber.  Once Maggot said that was the point, the green from the image flashed into the ceiling, producing a green wall of moving light.
            Ghetto uttered something and the light wall flashed back down smashing into the real ground.  Outside the beam emitted from the direct underside.  It ripped and destroyed the layer of concrete.  One of the fighters went into the hole and came back up a minute later.  It rose into the ship where the beam had come from.
            Inside, Ghetto and the children unloaded two computers, two monitors, several components and countless wires.  The alien robots began to go over the materials and put it all together.  After the computers were put together, the robots plugged it into the main alien computer.
            Maggot sat down to the computers and began typing away.  The images on the computer were all random.  Symbols, designs, text, everything not making much sense to the project Maggot was trying to carry out.  But he seemed to know what he was doing.
            He worked into the morning of the next day without sleeping and only eating once.  When he was finally done, Lucid dared to ask what he had created.
            "Quite simply," he said.  "A virus for their machines.  It won't affect the mother ship, only the fighters.  A message will be sent to the Ruid that this war is over and to the disabled fighter ships that they were lied to.  Images of children and peaceful stuff will flood their computers, proving to them we are not harming any of them.
            "After that a message will be sent to the Human fighters to stop due to their retreat.  It is dressed up as a direct order from their main superiors.  Earth will have no control over the signal.  I just hope it works."
            "How long before it works?" she asked.
            Ghetto answered.  “It should take effect almost immediately.  All the fighters are connected through the computer.  It’s a flaw on or part.  If a virus enters one ship, it affects us all.”
            PR couldn’t help but wonder aloud.  “How would you go about explaining this, won’t you all get in trouble?”
            Ghetto pondered it then answered.  “Yes, but our attack on Earth would quit.  If the mother ship can’t fight, she recalls all the ships and retreats, no more threat to Earth.  And you will never see us again.”
            “Wrong.”  Replied Maggot.
            Everyone looked at him with wide eyes, even Ghetto.
            “I put in a special program onto this ship.  For your eyes only, it’s a way to communicate with us over the computer.  The only thing I need is one of your computers.”
            “That sounds reasonable.”  Said Ghetto.  “But why?”
            “I would like to consider you a friend, Ghetto.  If there was a possibility in the future of the Ruid and the Humans meeting on peaceful grounds, that kind of set up would be excellent.”
            “Agreed.”
            And so the virus was downloaded into the ship, it would take an hour for the virus to take effect, ensuring that the squadron would escape Earth’s gravity.  Once it took effect the war would be pretty much over.  Hopefully.
            The only thing that could go wrong was the worst thing that could go wrong.  The mother ship may hold a completely different fighter army that was not connected to this one.  Then the war would stretch on.  Unless Ghetto could come up with something pretty quick.
*          *          *
            Ghetto sat at the helm of the giant ship, he watched as Human and Ruid fighters blasted each other out of the sky.  He reflected on what had happened.  He was the first to make contact with an alien race.  His race which traveled the stars for nearly 200 years finally met another race, and attacked.  He felt shamed.  Felt wrong that his race would blindly attack the first race they came upon.
            The year that they were not alone, they tried to make themselves alone.  He knew that the war was nearing a close. The mother ship had no other ships to send out as Maggot had feared.  But this ship would not be affected, and a thought ran through his mind.  Perhaps he could convince Maggot, Lucid, and PR to come to his planet.  The virus took effect as the thought came to him.  Ships all over the place began to stop and just float.  The mother ship, a second later, began to pull in all the ships.
            Ghetto finally decided, and overran the tractor on his ship.  He drifted into orbit then came slowly to the ground.  He knew the sound would draw the children's attention.  When he came to land, PR, Maggot, and Lucid all stood there with bags, as though they expected Ghetto to come back.
            The window door rippled open and Ghetto looked to them.  "How did you know?"
            "We just did."  They said in unison.
            They climbed onto the ship and quickly accelerated.  No one on Earth would know they were gone.  No one on Earth would know what the hell had happened in that period of two days.
            Aliens, the first contact of aliens, a small war, and it was all over.  The three children returned with Ghetto to the home world of the Ruid and were operated on.  They could breathe Ruid air, and for some unknown reason, they lived far past their normal years.  Maggot the oldest by far at the age of 220 years, was the ambassador to the Ruid and conducted the return of the Ruid.  Although Humans had met with other aliens by this time, it was a tremendous day the Ruid came back.
            It was a peaceful affair.

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