Ambassador From Earth
Genre MuseItYoung Imprint: Middle Grade/Tween Sci-Fi
Tags Aliens, bullies, diplomacy, alien empires, lost in space, spacecraft, saving Earth, interstellar war, disability, spina bifuda, wheel chair, science, science fiction, planets, computers, computer hacking
Release August 23, 2013
Editor Julie Hayes
Line Editor Les Tucker
Cover Designer Charlotte Volnek
"James, you pimped the spaceship."
Matthew Roper, and his friends, Ellen Thompson and James Lovely, discover an advanced alien spacecraft disguised as a beat up old van abandoned years ago in the woods near their homes. Soon they find themselves thrust into danger, intrigue, and war many light-years from Earth.
The Galactic Concordance is a ruthless organization of alien empires that grinds other civilizations into dust. Lost, the band of eighth graders fly to a giant space station looking for help, but are mistaken as diplomats by the Concordance.
The aliens try to strike a deal, but the children soon learn the fate of other worlds that have accepted the “help” that the Concordance offers. If the aliens learn the truth about who they are and where they are from, Earth will be annihilated.
The spacecraft’s previous master has left a fearsome device on the space station and Ellen holds the key to unlocking its power. Matt and his friends must choose between saving themselves or saving Earth.
Ellen opened the rear hatch. Then we heard her scream the kind of scream you hear in horror movies.
Ellen bolted from the rear hatch to the front of the ship. Outside, in the dim light, I could see creatures. They were definitely not human-looking. I moved slowly to the hatch to get a better look.
Two gigantic, upright scorpions met me at the hatch. Their black exoskeletons and double-action pincer claws made them look like beasts from the ninth level of Hell. They stood over eight feet tall, with huge, boxy bodies attached to a segmented abdomen out of which sprouted four very bug-looking legs. Two arms extended from the torso ended in multi-bladed pincers, easily capable of snapping a person's head off.
I spoke into the tube. “Hey. What's up, guys?”
One of the two creatures made a series of buzzes, chirps, and clicks. “Greetings Ambassador. His Excellency, the Prefect, sends his regards. Are all your staff embarked?”
“There are others with me,” I said.
The creature continued making sounds. “We received no communication announcing your arrival. Are more of your ships inbound?”
“Just us,” I said.
“The Prefect regrets the hasty preparations. A diplomatic module is being prepared for your use. If you will accompany us, we will take you to your embassy.”
“Sure, that would be great,” I said.
Prying Ellen out of the front seat of the ship almost took a crowbar. She was terrified of these creatures. They scared the you-know-what out of me, too, but they were being very polite. Besides, if they’d wanted to, they could have stripped our bones clean by now.
We were led through a passage to a transparent wall through which we could see inside. The entire interior of the station was one super-large chamber. Big doesn't come close to describing it. Standing in the Superdome, you'd see big. This was more like being an ant standing in the Superdome. Blazing lights along the walls lit the inside of the station as bright as daylight, but with more yellow than sunshine on Earth. Elevated highways extended from a wide ledge running around the entire chamber. Vehicles, some as big as buses, and some as small as toys, zipped around the outside perimeter and along the causeways on grooved tracks. In the center of the great room, floating in mid-air, were structures like buildings, of many different shapes. The buildings were all connected by tubes and spires, branching out of the sides of the station walls to the buildings.
“It's a floating city,” James said, and that was the best way I think any of us could describe it.
The scorpion creatures led us down a winding series of ramps branching off from the passage outside the landing bay. Eventually, we came to a smaller room, with transparent walls on either side.
“We must await transport,” said one of the creatures. “The atmosphere within the main chamber is incompatible with your environmental requirements.”
A vehicle pulled alongside the room and docked by extending a flexible membrane. A part of the transparent wall slid open and we entered the vehicle. It sped down a grooved track for several hundred meters, before switching to another track, taking us along one of the causeways toward the center of the station.
“This is different than I remember,” said Kritar. “Most of the internal space was used for storing freight, and fuel for our ships, before.”
“With so many different species, each with their own atmosphere and gravity requirements, they’ve built all kinds of different modules inside now,” I said.
“Nice town,” said James, “any good places to eat?”
“You will find nutritional units at the facility prepared for you,” chirped one of the creatures.
I looked at Ellen. She was still wide-eyed, and kept her hands clamped onto my arm. She was one of the bravest people I knew. Maybe she just really hated bugs. After all that had happened to us in the last few hours, it was a wonder we weren’t all completely freaked out. I don't think it hit me until then. I felt like I was watching a movie of myself.
The transport docked with a spherical building as big as a large house. The giant bugs ushered us in.
“This is your embassy, Ambassador. It can be configured as you require. The Prefect gives assurance all reasonable security precautions have been made, but you may take more as you choose. These devices will activate the environmental systems as you move through the enclave.” The creature held four metallic discs, half the size of a CD, hanging from lanyards. I took the devices and handed them out to Ellen and James.
“Thanks,” I said.
“The Concordance welcomes prospective member states. Communicate any requirements you have to the Prefect’s office.”
The two giant bugs left.
“You all understand, of course, Ambassador, they are listening and watching us,” said Kritar.
“I don't like this place. I want to go home,” Ellen said, not at all happy.
“When do we eat?” James asked.
“Find the phone and call Dominoes. I like pepperoni and mushrooms.”
James snorted and rolled his eyes.
“I don’t understand,” said Ellen, “what's going on?”
“They have never seen your species before,” said Kritar. “They simply assume you are an ambassador from a distant planet sent to negotiate for membership in the Concordance.”
“But we're just kids,” said James.
“Ixnay on the idskay!” I hissed. “If they're listening, we need to make it hard for them to understand. Speak Spanglish or slang. Use cultural references, i.e. ‘Domino’s’.”
Ellen and I spoke fairly good Spanish. Blending it with English and slang should keep whoever might be listening guessing as much as possible, I hoped. The aliens thought we were the ambassador and staff from some other species, seeking to join their interstellar version of the UN. Our lives, and maybe those of everyone on Earth, might depend on us keeping them thinking that.
“Let’s get the 411 on this place,” I said.