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And now: The Pogrom Factor
This is a new original story I am advertising by way of the web called:"The Pogrom Factor" It is my first original scifi story.

“ The Pogrom Factor” by Mace Draper ------------------------------------------------------- Chapter I “ The Nonesuch Incident” Page 1

A singing voice blared out over Steve’s radio headset into his spacesuit,” Happy Birthday to Steve, happy birthday to yoouuuuu!” He cringed automatically over the last symbols of the last word sung way off key. Then he heard a sound of a cork being pulled from a bottle of some liquid under intense pressure.

“Hey, did you guys find my champagne bottle I stashed?” he asked the party on the other side of the radio frequency. The only response he heard was giggling from several voices.

“Alright, you had your fun. You just wait till I get in. I’m almost finished with this weld.”

It was Steve Woalan’s birthday and what was he doing to celebrate? He was in a spacesuit outside in the cold regions of outer space somewhere between Jupiter and the planet Mars, welding some supports back into place that had broken loose from his research station Cornelius II. Damn his ranking and expertise. He was not only their most experienced sensor man, but one of the few on board that knew how to properly weld with a laser welder in opposite directional gravities.

He hated spacesuits but still it was beautiful out there. Jupiter seemed so much closer to them than Mars because of its immense size.

Its volcanic stormy red spot was more of a faint pink these past few years. It usually meant less activity. Here and there several stars at a time were blotted out by the shadow shapes of various asteroids that floated around that area. He never grew tired of the sights of deep space.

“ Hurry up little birthday boy. Its time to give you a birthday spanking.” It was Donna Brite their botanist and only on board physician on his radio. She could be a real pain sometimes.

“ I’ll be in soon. I’ll give you a kiss you’ll never forget.”

He heard several of the crew say ohs and wows and one even whistled.

Donna laughed,” Promises, promises. I’m gonna hold you to this one buster.”

“Yeah, yeah. We will see…What the hell?!” Steve suddenly found himself being pushed away from the supports and his laser welder he had temporarily let go of. It was his front propelling rockets on his suit. Somehow they had jammed on and try as he might, he couldn’t get

Page 2 them to shut off. He tried his rear propelling rockets, but they too wouldn’t even switch on. He was in a hell of a spot now, because that meant it was a short completely across his suit systems. For all he knew, his life support system could be next. It could actually shut down or try to work too hard and that could cause it to shut down. No since in driving himself crazy. He had to try to get those rockets to shut down soon, because with each passing second he was putting more and more distance between himself and his station.

Cornelius II contacted him again, and this time it was the captain,” What’s wrong Steve? You are rocketing away from us like crazy out there. Are your rockets jammed?”

“You bet they are. Looks like the only way to shut those babies down; is to shut the system down by pulling the plug, and you know what that means.” “Yeah…I know.”

For a moment it was dead quiet except for the constant hissing noise of his shorted rockets jetting him further and further away from any hope of survival. Then technician Roc Toc Tehhi’s voice tried to assure Steve,” Hold on Steve. Captain and two other’s are suiting up to bring you in.”

Steve gazed at the station which by now was already looking more the size of a small toy model,” You better hurry, I’m soon gonna be out of range.”

It was then he noticed the dark shadow that blocked out a large area of stars to the right of Cornelius II only a few miles away. Upon first sight of this object, Steve knew it wasn’t an asteroid. He wasn’t sure, but it looked as if the station was in its path, perhaps a direct collision course with it! His rockets cut off, but he hardly noticed.

“Uh, Roc. Are you still there?”

“ Yes, Steve.”

“ I’m not going any further. The rockets quit. But we have another problem.”

“ We do? Wait Steve! One of the crew has sighted some kind of object out Jupiter’s direction, ten point two miles away and closing. Can you see it?”

“Yes, I was wondering if you guys were ever going to correct course in time or not. It certainly isn’t an asteroid, Roc.”

“It certainly is not. We did not see it on our sensors at any time Steve.

Page 3 It is as if it appeared out of nowhere.”

There was a pause as if the technician was conversing with someone within the station, and then Steve heard his voice once more,” Steve.” “Yeah?” “In answer to your course question, the answer is we can not just yet.”

Steve was horrified, desperately asked,” Aren’t there other ways to avoid a collision? Maybe fire a missile at it to at least knock it off course enough to avoid Cornelius II?”

“That’s a negative Steve. All we have are miniature probe and signal rockets. Its five point seven miles and closing.”

“I know, I know. Can’t you all suit up and evacuate the station?”

“ No can do Steve. Most power has shut down and the airlock doors won’t budge. And to where do we go if we did escape the station? We’d be just as doomed as you are…sorry.”

“Why would the power shut down like…what? Trocek with an emotion?”

“Troceks do feel sadness, and right now I feel a great sadness for us all.” Then Roc shut off the communicator. Steve dismally reflected that that must have been his way of saying goodbye. A moment later, a voice on the edge of panic blared over Steve’s suit radio.

“Steve, it’s your captain. It’s definitely going to hit us. Only two miles away. We think the object has somehow affected our power and maybe your suit as well. Try your rockets; try anything to get the hell out of here before it is too…”

The captain was interrupted,” Steve, help us!” Steve recognized Donna’s voice and he desperately pounded on his rocket controls on his drifting suit, but again to no avail. Finally giving up, he quietly cried as he watched the strange shape close in on the hapless Cornelius II. Reflecting no light whatsoever, the jet black object twice the size of the of the research station cast a long foreboding shadow upon it before the two collided.

There was no sound only a small flash of light caused by the station’s oxygen combusting in an instant. Cornelius II broke up into thousands of pieces as the strange object plowed through it as if it wasn’t even there. To his horror, he saw several bodies and pieces of bodies turning end over end flying in all directions away from the shattered station. Whether the object hit the space system’s fuel tanks or exploaded itself somehow, Steve couldn’t venture to guess; nor did he have time

Page 4 to. For suddenly, a large fireball exploded toward him from where the station had once been. As it hit him, Steve mercifully blacked out.

Chapter II “This must be a dream” Steve had a strange dream about himself in a spacesuit stranded alone in the depths of outer space. It looked as though he was in a high orbit above the giant planet Jupiter. He spotted the object or part of it again, only this time it was in a orbit as high as his and it looked as if it was closing on him fast. Terror made his blood run cold as ice until he realized with a laugh how absurd it was to think that that could have been a living object out to get him. It was after all, only a large chunk of planet material found in any part of the galaxy. In other words, an asteroid.

No, now it looked like part of a ship as it quickly closed the distance between them. This was no dream. But who’s ship? He has never seen anything even remotely like it. And that was only a portion of its original size of that he was sure.

As it loomed larger and larger before him, Steve began to identify that strange object as his only chance of survival. When it was almost upon him, he could tell that the mysterious and foreboding object would miss him by as much as a foot.

“Oh well,” Ht thought,” What do I got to lose? I’ll be out of air soon anyway.”

As it passed by him without so much as a sound, Steve grabbed at the first thing he saw protruding from the object. Instead, a long needle type object perhaps some kind of antenna drove completely through his upper arm and he remained pinned to a slick metallic wall of the object as it continued on its new orbit around Jupiter. Steve screamed in pain until mercifully he passed out once more.

When next Steve opened his eyes, he was lying on his back in total darkness. He felt stiff and sore especially his upper arm. Then it occurred to him that if he were dead, how was it he could still feel every ache and pain? He tried to sit up and with a little effort, he did. Suddenly he realized that his oxygen should have run out long ago; yet he was still breathing air. Yep, he had to be dead.

He reached around with one hand to press a button inside a compartment along his life support container on his back and a

Page 5 electronic voice automatically said,” Oxygen level zero. Have automatically switched to outside oxygen supply.”

Steve wondered if he were in a kind of limbo, perhaps waiting a judgement as to whether he would go to heaven or hell. Seemed more like hell to him. A small green light and a small yellow light switched on to his left. The glow from those lights provided enough illumination that Steve could decipher his surroundings. He whistled under his breath as he took a first look where he was,” Man oh man, what have you got yourself into now, Steve?!”

What he could make out in the pale illumination made him think of seamless walls and floors made of a plastic looking material probably stronger than any type of steel or even Huerstium. Steve pulled off his helmet and inhaled deeply the strange sweet scented air. The wall, ceiling and floors were all a dull gray, but the one wall in front of him was one big instrument and control panel of that he was sure because it was quickly beginning to light up all over. A portion of it was blackened and lifeless as if damaged.

There were words written in a language Steve had never seen before above several of the instruments and rows upon rows of multicolored lights. The entire compartment was only ten feet by eight feet and a man his size could only squat or sit inside. The ceiling was too low to stand in. There were no seats or furniture of any kind and that puzzled him.

What was he inside of anyway? That piece of junk floating around Jupiter? He reached around and pulled off his environmental pack and set it gently onto the floor. What puzzled him most was why his arm wound hadn’t bled much or given him much pain?

He might as well keep busy, in case a miracle were to happen he would be sure to be prepared. He twisted a tiny nozzle valve several times and pressed several numbered buttons on a small control panel on the side of his pack. In minutes it had sucked in enough air to fill the tanks to capacity.

After an hour, Steve realized that the craft was doomed and he couldn’t make any sense of the lighted panel anyway. So he decided he would be better off if he left it immediately. Besides, an uneasy feeling had crept within him ever since he had awakened inside the craft.

“ I guess I must have accidentally kicked a hidden door open while I struggled pinned on that antenna looking thing.” He reasoned to

Page 6 himself as he attached his pack and helmet back onto his suit. “Now, it might be that kicking around these walls might trigger it to open again.”

With those words, Steve kicked the walls all around him, but there was no reaction whatsoever. Not even the lighted panel had shown any change. As he leaned over in disgust to pick up a small tin of food he had dropped to the floor, there was a terrific blow that shook the entire craft violently enough to throw Steve forward into the strange instrument panel, sending him to dream land once more.

Chapter 3 “ You’ve been volunteered “

Maybe third time’s a charm Steve pondered as he gathered courage to open an eye. He smiled at a red-headed nurse who was hovering over him apparently examining his recent head wound. “Looks like you’re going to make it Mr. Walens and with little the worse for wear I imagine. The automatic sealant release saved you and your arm when you received that puncture wound. In fact I’ve given you a bath and you look to be in tip top shape.” This amused the astronaut patient,” Really? Why is it I always nap through the good stuff?” The red-head didn’t seem the least bit phased,” Nap? It was more like a coma.” Steve tried to sit up, but a pounding head ache prevented him,” Coma? How long was I out anyway, uh Karen?” He noticed her name automatically from her nurses digital name plate pinned on the front of her blue and red striped uniform. Nurse Karen hesitated before answering as she opened the curtains to a large window to the right of Steve’s hospital bed,” You were out three days.” “Three days!?” Steve was beside himself, but his curiosity drove him to continue to pump his nurse for more answers. “Do you know how I was found, rescued?” Steve started to sit up during their conversation. Before Karen could answer another voice did for her,” You were found and rescued because by a miracle a Starship was in your sector with wide scanning detection equipment on at the time that an automatic distress signal was beamed out from the Cornelius II. They

Page 7 first found the wreckage of the research station.” Steve found the voice belonged to a medium build white haired gentleman by the name of Loren Trallian, supreme commander of the galactic secret service who had quietly slipped into the room unnoticed till then. Lawerance Stey, a young man who looked more like an accountant than an assistant commander had accompanied Loren. Steve grinned from ear to ear,” Hi Loren. Now what do I owe the honor of your presence here?” Loren signaled the nurse to leave and approached the wounded astronaut’s bed,” In time you’ll know and when you do, you may not like it.” “Nope, you may not like it at all,” The thin assistant repeated gleefully. Steve brushed his brown wavy hair back ignoring Lawerence’s gloating. It was no secret that the assistant commander hated his guts and the feeling was mutual. Steve had worked for the agency several years back in the Tilex-ol crisis. The little wart had always assigned him the worst missions he could find. Steve had retaliated by spreading a rumor that Lawerence was having an affair with an Admiral’s wife who just happen to have an office located very near in the agency’s main building where he had his own office. And the sparks flew. Funny thing about it was that that little wart actually was having an affair with her; but had split just before things got hot. They had not spoken to one another since. “Shame about the wreckage Loren, but what does that have to do with finding me?” Steve tried not to show the twisting feeling he had in his heart for the loss of several of his best friends…and Donna. He tried to disguise his voice from the emotion he felt; as he was wishing better it had been him than her. Anyone but her. Loren planted his hands firmly in his pockets of his silver three piece suit,” Not much to do with you and in fact if it hadn’t been for the starship Captain’s stubborn nature and the fact that he has been a close friend of yours for at least fifteen years…” “Ah, let me guess. Captain Ron Stesenger of the Starship Alpha.” Loren looked up,” Why yes, I believe that was the ship that spotted the craft or should I say what was left of it? How did you know? You were pretty much out of it when they pulled it aboard and found you inside.”

Page 8 Steve with some difficulty pulled himself into a position to sit on the edge of the bed. Someone had dressed him in red and yellow pastel pajamas. Unbelievable. “He’s the only one that would have kept up the search alright. Only he would have checked out Jupiter and its moons for anything orbiting around them. After all as bright as it gets around there, my little would-be coffin would have stood out like a sore thumb. Now, what is the news I’m bound to not like?” Steve folded his arms painfully and waited. Loren glanced at Lawerence,” You’re the one who brought up this idea in our last agenda meeting. Why don’t you explain it to him?” Loren leered at his assistant when he seemed undisturbed with this unexpected responsibility. Lawerence calmly pulled out a pair of wire rimed glasses from his shirt pocket, put them onto his nose and pulled out a note book. He looked it over as if to remind himself of the details and then cleared his throat to speak. After a dramatic pause, he began his lecture which by that time Steve was ready to throw a bed pan at his thick little skull. “First I must brief you as I do with all agents whether you are in the agency already or reinstated.” Steve interrupted,” What? Who said I was going to be an agent again?” Lawerence held up a neatly manicured hand,” Please Mr. Woalen. Hear me out first.” Steve sighed,”Oh, alright. Get on with it. I’ve already lost one job for now. Probably won’t be going much of anywhere for a while.” The thin young man continued,” You’ll be interested to know that we found out some interesting things about exactly what hit the Cornelius II. We have thoroughly examined the object that we found you in, which incidentally was the front part of what hit the station in the first place.” I thought as much when I saw it a second time heading right for me as I orbited Mars.” Steve’s mind raced with thoughts of possibilities. Loren interjected,” So you were conscious after the explosion?” “Yeah, but I sure was out of it. It’s the first time I’ve really been alone in space like that and you know already how I felt about suits.” Loren laughed,” Yeah, I bet that was a bit hairy out there.” Lawerence cleared his voice plainly irritated of the interruption. Loren apologized and the assistant commander continued with his report,” First, we’ve found the object is an alien spaceship never before

Page 9 encountered in this or any solar system we’ve explored so far. We almost made the mistake of assuming that it therefore was from beyond. Then one of our leading physicists decided to try to trace back its course; using the research stations location at the point of impact and by calculation tracing the objects course backwards to its source of origin. He also found an ion vapor trail leading back to the same point of origin.” Steve thought now the guy is getting interesting. Lawerence glanced at his notes again before he continued,” At first it was hard to believe; when at last the physicist a Professor Michael T. Forester finally arrived at his answer, which pointed to this very solar system as the source. And we were even more surprised to find that later he was to narrow down the original location, to the planet Pluto.” Physically Steve was beginning to feel better even though he was starving for breakfast. He ventured to stand beside his bed,” Pluto? But there’s nothing there! Just a ball of frozen methane gases and hard froze ice. How’s that possible?” “That we don’t know.” Lawerence began, but Loren added before he could,” We’re still trying to figure out the spaceship’s purpose and its energy source. Apparently, the minute the Alpha picked it up the energy source went dead. So, we may never know until…” Lawerence took it up,” Until we send a mission to the original site of launch, Pluto.” Steve looked at Lawerence and then at Loren,”Oh no. I know what you two are leading up to and I’m telling you now there’s no way I’m going on a mission for you; especially one as nutty as this one is shaping up to be.” He sat back down hard on his bed and folded his arms across his chest again. Lawerence stepped closer,” Now Steve, this is very important to not only us; but to you. Don’t you ever want to know why the craft took you in and supplied you with oxygen when you were running out?” Steve started to say something, but Lawerence was on a roll and would not let him get a word in yet,” Surely you’d like to think that your friends, your girl friend did not die in vain. That they died to perhaps in some indirect way save countless other lives?” “Well, when you put it that way…” Steve reflected,” Wait a minute. What do you mean by countless lives?”

Page 10 Lawerence and Loren glanced at each other and Loren reluctantly answered,” Well, we found out some other characteristics of the alien craft.” “So spill it!” Steve was becoming an impatient patient. “It is constructed in a way far advanced to the techniques we use and with a material that is completely unknown.” “One thing we do know,”Lawerence added,” Is that that material is indestructible against the weapons our technology has to offer.” “You tried tests?” Steve asked. Lawerence stepped closer,” Yes we certainly have. We tried lasers and radiated torpedoes, bombs of all types except nukes. We did try particle beam weapons and type C neutron rays. Nothing worked so far.” “Not even a scratch? That’s incredible! Then they were aggressive.” Steve ventured. “Perhaps are.” Lawerence pondered out loud,” They could be a people that have lived right under our noses or better still a race that has hibernated for hundreds even thousands of years until now.” “That may be possible, but not probable.” Loren interrupted,” Remember, so far we’ve found only one craft and it was on automatic.” “Anyway, our government wants to find out quietly if this is a threat or not. That is why we were placed in charge of sending a special task force in the Starship Alpha II to the planet Pluto to investigate.” Lawerence summed it up. “You know, I never gave it much thought, but I guess Pluto hasn’t been explored.” “You’re right Steve.” Loren replied,” Oh, several robotic probes through the years have orbited it and some of them landed and set up a constant report back to Central Space Command. You know like seismic readings and such. You and I know that’s been Command’s attitude about these types of planets. Why bother with them when they’re not good for anything.” “Yeah, I guess it wouldn’t be worth installing any kind of base on there when its environment is so inhospitable.” Steve climbed back into bed. “Yes, it would be a waste. Or so they thought.”Lawerence replied.” So, you will become part of the team?”

Page 11 Steve placed his arms behind his back as he laid back on his pillow,” Yeah sure, if you can promise me no space walks and a tidy sum for my troubles.” Though Lawerence frowned at this he didn’t hesitate to answer,” Agreed. Uh, why aren’t you getting up?” “Hey I can’t help it if the doctor wanted to keep me in another day.” Steve smiled at the little tyrant shyly. Loren interjected,” Don’t worry about that Steve. We’ll take care of the details. You just be dressed and down in the first floor lobby in say…an hour from now and we’ll meet you there.” Loren smiled his old familiar smile at Steve that he remembered he would when he knew he had somebody suckered. Loren stood over Steve’s bed and stared down at him,” Look, I know what you must think of me, but really we all are working for the same thing and I do value your expertise as a top intergalactic agent. I just want everything to go smoothly and I think the best way is to let you know how I stood. If you’ll follow orders to the letter this time; I believe we can accomplish this mission…” “Save the lecture for the green ones Loren.” Steve interrupted impatiently,” You say that I’m one of the top agents so you ought to know by now if you’re any leader at all that one of the first things a good agent uses to his advantage in situations like this; that what we’re about to jump into is to use ones initiative and not to follow a leader blindly. Do you get my drift?” Steve stared up into Lawerence’s face with a serious look that made the young assistant commander take an involuntary step back. Loren intervened by addressing Lawerence,”Come on Major. Leave him alone. You don’t have to shit in your pants because he doesn’t jump when you bark. Really, he’ll be fine.” Loren turned to look back as they were going out the door,” Don’t take long Steve. We got a lot to do in a short space of time.” Steve waved them off as he made for the wall drawers where they had stored his cloths,” Relax, I’m on my way. Just keep a rein on Lawerence will ya?” Loren left without another word and soon had caught up with his assistant Lawerence who asked,” When are you going to tell him sir?” “About what?” Loren innocently asked as he stared after a tall nurse with light brown hair streaked with white who strolled by him.

Page 12 Lawerence exasperated looked his boss up and down,” About the fact that I’m going along on this mission as well as Doctor Michael T. Forester and five other scientists each interplanetary specialist in his field. And then there’s Piquawid Tatatcalentutmem.” Loren looked concerned and opened and closed his mouth several times before he spoke,” Now’s definitely not the time. He’s a man on the brink. He’ll lose it if too much is coming at him at one time. We have got to pick up the pieces and build him back up to his former self; one of the greatest agents in the history of the agency.” They reached the elevators and one opened in time for the two to step in without pushing a button. Loren pressed for the fourth underground level as Lawerence asked in a low voice,” What happened to him to make him crack up and lose rank?” Loren answered as they felt the elevator start its 20 floor drop,” Just after the Rillian war Steve’s little brother stationed on the neutral zone planet S-512, got in a fight with several Rillians in a neutral game area and was killed. When Steve found out two days later, he hunted the ones responsible down one by one and killed them. This started a riot that threatened to flare up into a civil war. If we hadn’t stepped in, faked his death, and pulled him out of there; many humans and Rillians would have died there that day. He was never the same and was forcefully ejected from the service being such an embarrassment.” Lawerence shook his head in disbelief,” And you want to patch this guy together for a mission of this caliber? I’ve assigned Steve missions before and though he broke every rule in the book; he did accomplish them. I never knew such a catastrophe had happened until he suddenly disappeared. Unbelievable! I want this down on record now that I don’t agree with this particular part of your recruitment plan one bit.” Lawerence stepped off the elevator and then Loren who explained to his assistant,”Personally,I have faith in him. Deep down I believe he’s still got it somewhere and I’m willing to risk it all to let him have a chance at it. Besides the decision’s from the top. There’s no other choice.” “What do you mean, there’s no other choice? Lawerence asked puzzled at his boss’ statement. Before they reached the lobby, they made their way to the business offices on the same floor to check Steve Woalen out of the hospital. As

Page 13 they proceeded down a sterile white hallway Loren explained,” What I’m telling you now is confidential, but I feel you must know now to appreciate the situation we’re cornered in.” Looking straight ahead Lawerence asked,” Just what situation are we in, sir?” “Lately, from accounts of incidents that are happening throughout the Rillian system; it is possible that they may have a civil war against the present government there. The government controls at least fifteen planets in their system. We’ve got every available agent working among the Rillians as a logical buffer against any surprises that may come our way. Also, we have a lot of United Planetary citizens living and working on some of their worlds and you know what that could mean.” “Yes, that is certainly a highly explosive situation especially when Rillians are involved. You know, I bet Steve has already guessed why he was reinstated, but he will never guess that he will be working with the likes of Piquawid.” As they reached the business office doorway Loren chuckled,”Yeah, I would venture that he’s going to be just a little upset, but on a mission such as this what is there not to be upset about?”

Chapter III: “They’re all alike” Piquawid of Rillian had all his clothing and weapons which consisted of eight different long and short knives and two lasers pistols lined up perfectly across his undersized bed. Yes, with the exception of his puny bed, Mars three on the planet Titan wasn’t a bad place. It was almost cheerful compared to the station he existed on for three lonely years on that accursed neutral planet. It was such a dishonor that every time he thought of that place or any neutral world, he felt like spitting. His father served and died with great honor in the last campaign of the human war. Why couldn’t he have done the same? It was so unfair. So unfair to his mother too. But now that was behind him and now he had a chance to redeem himself in his mother’s eyes and his people. They were embarking upon a great mission on such a great ship. He could feel it so much that he could touch it; like a physical thing. Why couldn’t humans sense it as he could? Did that make them inferior? No, by all means, they are not. Or at least some of them are not.

Page 14 Rillians seldom grinned or smiled, but Piquawid did every time he recalled the time on the neutral planet four years ago, when he saw a human by the name of Steve fight with a vengeance against four Rillian soldiers. It was a long wild fight with Steve becoming the victor in the end; killing three and gravely wounding the other. He had never known humans could fight that well hand to hand or with knives. He had every right to kill them for it was well known that those Rillians had killed Steve’s brother just for fun and his pocket full of change with him. Yet the mostly Rillian crowd in the trade center where it happened could only take the incident as a disgraceful demonstration of racism and they tried to get to the human to kill him for his so called crime. But the police rescued him just in time and that was the last he saw or heard of Steve until yesterday. His senior officer approached him earlier that morning and told him he was to report to certain office located in an almost abandoned area of the Mars three station within the hour to a Mr. Loren. Through that meeting he learned that because he was one of the top electromagnetic engineers in the human fleet; he served in ever since peace time, he was picked to accompany others on a very important mission. A mission so secret that the members of the leading council of the United Planets knew nothing of it. Also that is when they mentioned the name of Steve Woalen a top agent of the human Interplanetary Secret Service. They wondered if he mind working closely with this human. Without showing any sign of the emotions that he felt in his heart, he nonchalantly replied that he wouldn’t mind as long as the human was competent enough to keep up with him. That brought a smile to Loren’s face. Loren who had been sitting across the table from Piquawid stared at the Rillian,” I guess I don’t have to tell you the importance of this mission. You were briefed of the some of the details were you not?” The Rillian shown no emotion that he felt inside about the mission when he answered,” Yes indeed I was, but I have questions….” Lawerence who was also sitting across the table aside of Loren asked,” And what are these questions you have? Is it about any of the crew or about your personal food supplies and gear?” “No no. I want to know what Steve thinks of this mission.” The two government agents exchanged troubled glances a moment, before the top agent replied,” Obviously because of his personal

Page 15 experience with the intruder and his miraculous survival, he has a unique perspective and an emotional urgency to find out how exactly how this happened.” Piquawid rose from the table suddenly with great emotion stirring in his very being towering over the agents; nearly shouting,” It is obvious to me that you two don’t know even a little of what is stirring inside him right now!” Loren remained seated but very cautious realizing for the first time, how this Rillian warrior really felt about Mr. Woalen,”I take it you two met before?” Loren carefully profiled the Rillian’s facial expressions as he replied to his question. “He is alive compared to most humans I have met! I greatly admire this human because unlike you two; he is living and he is a survivor. I hope to be as great a warrior as this Steve some day. Then I can say that, I Piquawid Tatalcalentutmem am his equal!” The Rillian beat his chest once with emotion. Lawerence chuckled,” The man is a wreck even after a month of physical and emotional therapy! He’ll be lucky to react like a human let alone a mission operative.” The Rillian’s eyes grew wide as he raised one of his large four fingered hands as if to strike Lawerence,” I should bash your head in where you sit!” Piquawid’s breathing increased and his body shook with anger. Lawerence shrunk back in sheer fright,”Hey! I was just kidding!” Loren yelled,”Piquawid! Calm down. Remember who you are speaking to. Major Lawerence will be second in mission command to Doctor Michael T. Forester. They will be your superiors for the mission. If you are to be a part of this endeavor, you will have to accept and make the best of this situation, understand?” In seconds the Rillian lowered his arm and his eyes,” I am sorry for those actions and words. It shall never happen again. I feel fortunate to be invited upon this endeavor. Yes, I feel lucky to be a part of this glorious mission and to perhaps help unravel one of the great mysteries of your solar system.” Lawerence with a smirk on his face commented,” Spoken like a true statesman. Now, let us inform you of the mission’s details and what your job mainly entails.”