Carmen read bedtime stories from a blank book to her son every now and then. She imagined every word, and her son, Arthur, liked that.
“Twenty seconds and counting…T minus 12 and counting. Eleven. Ten. Nine. Ignition Sequence start. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Zero.
All engines running. Lift Off. I repeat, we have a Lift Off”
Carmen mimicked the scene by raising her right hand upward slowly “Wooshhhhhh”.
“Mum”, interrupted Arthur, “I’m going to close my eyes soon, you don’t have to imitate things”, which he did before finishing his sentence.
“Fairly well sweetie. Now back to our odyssey…
These were the last words the Terra crew heard before taking off on their titanic spacecraft. It was a lifetime expedition throughout space, say…around 10 years?”
“10 years is not a lifetime”, Arthur disagreed, his eyes still closed.
“Yes it its darling. There are places on earth where people don’t make it till the age of eleven” his mother clarified.
“The crew was composed of a confident Commander, a wise Pilot along with a couple of enthusiastic Assistants, one unfashionable flight Engineer, two rigorous scientists, and finally two ex-military officers… Can you count them back sweetie?”
Three seconds passed. “NINE” answered Arthur.
“Wrong, because I forgot to mention the Cook, so they are Ten.
Anyhow, the journey proceeded for four years without any sort of complications, not even between the crew members since their association and chemistry grew very genuine and sincere long before their take off. The Terra crew was supposed to make it to an astral planet in four years and six months. One of the Pilot Assistants was examining the trajectory plan when he heard what was some sort of beeping on one of the screens ‘tutut tutut tutut…’ ”
“Taken aback, he called for the second Assistant who climbed over from her cabin and investigated the warning. They argued about the nature of the signal for few moments, then they stared at each others and at the beeping. Finally they decided to call for the Pilot, who in turn called for the Commander without a second thought.”
“Half an hour passed, and all the crew had gathered inside the cockpit, except the Cook. What apparently seemed to be on the screen was another spacecraft, but of an unearthly type. And it was getting closer with every beep. The Commander turned to one of the Officers and told him in a cold-blooded tone ‘Prepare the cannons and activate the armor’, and at the sound of that everyone but the Cook peered horrifyingly at the Commander who explained easily ‘…just in case’.”
Carmen paused her bedtime story as soon as she heard her son’s snoring. She moved very close and kissed him on his face, wine lips over caucasian skin; she had wine for dinner. Then she moved back to her chair and carried on with the story.
“Another half an hour later, and the Terra crew, excluding the Cook, could be illustrated by few words: Fright, Exasperation, Agitation, Repression. Now they are floating in the void, few yards away from the otherworldly spaceship. They’ve all gathered in the helm, still the Cook missing, trying to savor up the weight of their moment.
All of a sudden, some sort of windows slid open on the strange ship, and five silhouettes appeared. Ten minutes passed and both the Terra crew and the aliens were still standing frozen and staring at each other. Two huge spacecrafts entangled in the void, fate intertwined.
“The Pilot snapped out of his trance and asked the Commander about what they should do, to lead them, and the latter replied plainly ‘I don’t know. We never had training for similar encounters. Ha! Does anyone know how we’re supposed to communicate with them? How to tell them to follow us or to lead us? What if they are dangerous? Should we invite them to come over? I just don’t know’ and the Commander loosened up in his chair, hopeless, defeated.
“The Commander’s words hit the rest of the crew like bombshells, a thunderbolt striking a small branch from the tree of life. They were overpowered by their unfamiliarity.”
Carmen peered at her son, who was still snoring, and lifted the sheet so it covers his chest. Then resumed her story.
“The Cook emerged from his kitchen in silent footsteps, sneaking from behind the Terra crew, and perceiving what appeared through the glass. ‘Bloody Hell!’ he murmured to himself. He looked to his left side and he saw the panel control, he knew which button does what, at least the weaponry system. He remembered his side training. He pressed the right buttons and blew up the aliens.
“Not being aware of what exactly had just happened, or to be precise, not wanting to accept what had just happened, the Terra crew turned toward the Cook, traumatized by his acts, the Commander tried to spell out the words for him ‘Wha..t….wh…Y’. The Cook replied sanguinely ‘I’ve prepared dinner for only ten stomachs’, he gazed over the crew and he knew that they weren’t convinced, not one bit; he straightened his back and he continued imperturbably ‘Besides, isn’t that how we deal with others from different places back on earth?’ Then he turned and stormed out back to the kitchen while calling out from his right shoulder ‘Dinner is ready!’ “