and Bobby Save the World
by Stephen Tillman
is unfortunate,” Glorp said to his partner, Bamzo. “The beast is dead. The
Supreme Leader will not be pleased. We were entrusted with its care.”
the eggs close to hatching?” Bamzo asked. “If so, we might find another food
source for the hatchlings.”
not,” Glorp replied after he had cut open the dead creature.
must report this to her. Hopefully she will be in a good mood.”
Supreme Leader of the Korinsap people, stormed into her throne room, followed
by her two male consorts. She towered over them, being half again their height
and nearly three times their bulk. It was obvious to Glorp and Bamzo that she
was not happy.
lowered herself onto her throne. The consorts sat at her feet. Her two primary
bodyguards escorted Glorp and Bamzo up to Harisha and forced them to prostrate
themselves. Since the bodyguards were female, hence much larger, there was
little they could do.
allowed the creature to die!” Harisha exclaimed. “Therefore my eggs will not
mature. Give me a good reason why I should not have you executed on the spot.”
nervousness Glorp excreted a foul-smelling gas. Fortunately, Bamzo had a bit more
self-control. He explained that the creature had trouble breathing, and
speculated that the atmosphere on a planet in the closest neighboring system might
be more conducive to keeping the creatures healthy. He offered to travel to the
creature’s home planet and return with more specimens.
said nothing for a considerable time, giving the males hope that they might not
perish. At least not immediately. At last she said, “The Percons, which we are
currently using to incubate our eggs, are dying out. At this rate within ten
generations there will be almost none left. As much as I would like to see you
punished, it is more critical for the survival of our race that we find a
replacement. Explorers are searching for new possibilities, but have had no
luck. These creatures seemed to be, if not perfect, at least possible.
Therefore, I order you to proceed to their planet and get at least two more. As
I understand it, they can procreate with only two beings rather than the three
that civilized people such as ourselves require. It seems obscene, but that is
how they do it. We must be sure they will survive before we chance losing more
eggs. Go! Do not fail!”
is perfect,” Olivia said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate
my seventy-second birthday. I’ve been so busy at work that I didn’t realize how
much I needed to get away. Now I’ll have a week to relax with my entire family.
No outsiders around for at least twenty miles.”
three children and two step-children had arranged an outing for the entire
extended family including all thirteen of her grandchildren. The only ones not
having a great time were thirteen-year-old, Judith, and her fourteen-year-old
cousin, Bobby. The other eleven grandchildren, ranging in age from Brendan, 22,
to Samuel, 8, were able to participate together in games. Judith and Bobby were
not allowed to. They were so much more physically proficient than the others
that it wouldn’t be fair. Only Samuel was unaware of the family secret, as he
was deemed too young to keep it in confidence.
bites!” Judith said to Bobby.
got that right,” Bobby replied, holding up his phone. “No signal
at all. I’m bored out of my gourd.
Let’s go exploring.”
good to me.”
was close!” Glorp exclaimed. “The barbarians almost got us.”
have become far more proficient than the last time we visited this planet,”
Bamzo agreed. “It will make fulfilling our mission much more difficult. We must
try to stay away from their heavily populated areas. If we are spotted again,
their airships will be on us quickly. Let us see if there are any candidates
away from their major hives.”
is a good tactic anyway. It will make capturing them much easier if they are
low and flying in a search pattern the Korinsap males detected the presence of
two locals. Glorp pointed them out and headed in their direction while Bamzo
activated the stunners.
President of the United State called an emergency meeting with the Vice
President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, and the Director of National Intelligence.
can you tell us about that UFO?” POTUS asked.
certainly it’s extra-terrestrial,” CJCS replied. “No nation on earth has
something that can move that stealthily and that quickly with unbelievable maneuverability.”
concur,” DNI said. “If anyone else had those capabilities we would’ve heard
something about it. They couldn’t keep it a secret.”
boys almost got it,” Defense said. “If it hadn’t appeared so suddenly they
would have. The question is, what do we do about it? Should we inform the
general public? Do we tell our allies about it?”
keep it under our hats for now,” VP suggested. “In the meantime, we should
cancel leaves for fliers in the air force and navy. We can say we’re scheduling
don’t know that they’re hostile,” State pointed out.
we know more, we have to be prepared for any contingency,” Defense said.
further discussion, they decided to follow VP’s suggestions, except that POTUS
would call in the ambassadors of Russia, China, and Great Britain.
crap!” Judith shrieked. “What was that?”
and Bobby had been following a small stream, capturing small creatures, and
then letting them go. They kept score as to who got the most. Suddenly a large
object whooshed by overhead, turned around, and came back toward them. They
ran, heading for an area of thick forest.
felt something hit her. She fell. She could not feel any wounds, but she also
was unable to move any of her limbs. Bobby was having similar difficulties.
object landed. A hatch opened and two strange creatures emerged. They were slightly
smaller in size than an average human, but had three arms, three legs, and
three eyes. A three-fingered hand was at the end of every arm. Each alien was
wearing a one-piece garment. There was no visible hair. Working together, the
creatures dragged Judith into the object, placed her in a cage, and went back
and did the same with Bobby. The hatch closed. The creatures went to an area
that had several dials and switches.
was the sensation of motion, but not the pressure of gravitational force. A
screen showed them rising rapidly. After a short while it showed stars. Judith
and Bobby realized they’d be abducted by aliens, and were on a spaceship of
some sort. Then they fell unconscious.
getting dark,” Olivia noted. “Where are Judith and Bobby? I haven’t seen them
since this morning.”
think they were bummed out because they were excluded from the games,” Tyler
said. “I wouldn’t worry about them, Mom. If anybody can take care of
themselves, my niece and nephew can.”
I don’t think they’d stay out overnight without telling us,” Tammy, Bobby’s
said they were going to follow that stream over there,” Samuel said. “I wanted
to go with her, but she wouldn’t let me.”
and I will go look for them,” Tammy said. “They’re our kids.”
go also,” Dan, Tammy’s husband said. “Bobby’s my kid too.”
join the search,” Tyler said.
you stay,” Olivia declared. She glanced at Samuel and chose her words
carefully. “One of… us needs to be here just in case. I’ll go.”
her two daughters, and Dan followed the stream for several miles. The sun set,
but there was a three-quarter moon and a clear sky. With their cat-like vision
they had little difficulty seeing. Eventually they came to a clearing. Judith’s
water bottle was lying on the ground. At the edge of the clearing there was a
depression, as if something heavy had settled there. Drag marks went from near
the trees toward the depression.
appears they’ve been kidnapped,” Olivia said. “Possibly by aliens.”
and Bobby awoke to find themselves in a large, caged enclosure. They felt
slightly lighter than they would be on earth. They were each lying on a
platform about the size of a single bed. They could turn their heads, but
clamps held their arms, legs, and torsos motionless.
must be on another planet,” Bobby said. “This is too big to fit inside that
spaceship. According to my watch only about thirty-six hours have gone by.
Somehow or other they can go faster than light.”
we know what’s up, I suggest we don’t show them… our capabilities,” Judith
then the two aliens who’d captured them appeared. With them was a third alien
carrying a machine of some sort. The third alien was significantly larger than
the first two. It touched a button and more clamps immobilized their heads.
Then Three attached wires to the head clamps and began making sounds. The
youngsters felt a vibration inside their heads, but there was no actual noise.
After a while the sounds of Three began to make sense.
have taught you the rudiments of our language with our linguistic computer,”
Three said. “We will need several more sessions before you become proficient.
It would be too much for your primitive brains to absorb everything at once. My
name is Tabina. These two are Glorp and Bamzo. They will be your keepers. They
are mere males, as you can see by their diminutive size, but they are capable
of doing that much. They will provide you with sustenance shortly. The area to
your right side is for bodily functions.”
pushed another button and the clamps holding Judith and Bobby were released.
The aliens departed.
initial attempts to report the kidnapping led to her being considered a nutcase
by the local authorities. They said the kids must have wandered off, and search
parties would be sent out. Olivia quickly realized working with the locals was
counterproductive. As chief-of-staff to the senior senator from New York,
however, she was able to get an audience with the President, even though he was
in the other party.
was surprised that with POTUS was the VP and the Chinese ambassador. POTUS
explained that they were aware of extra-terrestrial visitors.
know about your… nature,” POTUS said. “Do your grandchildren have the same
all of them,” Olivia replied. “But the two who were taken do.”
the ambassador said in perfect English. “The abductors may come to regret their
actions. In the meantime, your President and mine have agreed to put aside our
differences, as, apparently, an existential threat to the human race has
and Bobby found that learning the alien language, with the aid of the
linguistic computer, was not difficult, but, by mutual agreement, decided to
pretend otherwise. They wanted the Korinsaps to underestimate them while they
they learned was the Korinsaps had a matriarchal society and their mathematical
system was base three. The females were bigger, stronger and smarter than the
males. There were about twice as many males as females. Acts of procreation
required two males and one female. When a female became pregnant, she laid her
eggs inside another creature for incubation. After the eggs hatched, the
hatchlings used the incubating creature as a food source until they were mature
enough to be on their own. The creature did not survive the process.
most commonly used such creature was a Percon. The Percons were also used as
slaves and as food for adult Korinsaps. Their population was diminishing. The
Korinsaps were considering humans as alternatives.
what they estimated was about four weeks, they were told they were to be
brought before the Supreme Leader, who was located in a neighboring system. She
would decide their fate.
will we get to that place?” Judith asked, haltingly. She feigned difficulty in
expressing herself clearly.
will take the same ship we used to gather you,” Glorp replied.
do not need a female to drive the ship?” Bobby asked.
do not need help to pilot the ship,” Bamzo said. “Our destinations are already
embedded into the ship’s computer. We merely have to tell it where to go. The
computer does all the work, including avoiding hostile attempts to attack it,
as happened when we approached your planet. All we had to do was tell it to
stun you and land near you.”
if the ship becomes damaged?” Judith asked, fearfully. “Will we be stranded
ship carries enough spare parts to repair almost all problems. Instructions as
to how to do so are embedded in the computer,” Glorp assured her. “We will be
and Bobby did not resist when they were restrained by clamps and taken aboard
the ship. They observed closely as Glorp and Bamzo brought them to their destination.
At one point there was a jolt, the outside went black, and a short time later
just happened?” Judith cried out.
not be alarmed,” Bamzo replied. “We went through a wormhole to get from the
other system to this one. The process is very rapid.”
and Bobby were brought before the Supreme Leader and the female named Tabina. Not
perceiving the humans as any kind of threat, Harisha had no guards present.
proficient are they in our tongue?” Harisha asked Tabina.
disappointing,” Tabina replied. “Even with the aid of the computer it took a
long time for them to grasp concepts and vocabulary. Then the next day they
would be back almost to square one.”
are not that…” Glorp said, trying to correct Tabina.
Harisha roared. “You will speak only when you are asked to speak. Do I make
myself clear or do you need to be beaten until you remember your proper place?”
your worthiness,” Bamzo said, bowing until his head touched the floor.
were saying,” Harisha said to Tabina.
addition to the computer we used different strategies of reward and
punishment,” Tabina said. “That worked in the short run, but the next day, as I
said before, they forgot again. I would say their working vocabulary is no
better than three to the fifth power words.”
before you arrived, I received notice that one of our exploratory teams found
another species which they said was almost ideal. The ship we sent to the human
planet was nearly destroyed. They could become dangerous. Since they have
problems learning our language, they would not make good slaves. Attempts to
plant eggs in them did not work. Given all of that, I do not think they will
make good incubators. There is no rush, but eventually we will probably have to
obliterate them. In the meantime, I will have Glorp take these two to the
kitchen. We will see if they are good eating.”
and Bobby looked at each other, nodded, and in a single motion removed their
clothes and changed. Where Bobby had
been was a large, male, black leopard. Where Judith had been was a good-sized,
female, spotted leopard. Unbeknownst to them, the Korinsaps had abducted two
were-leopards, the rarest of all the extremely rare were-creatures on earth.
in leopard form are exceedingly strong and quick. In addition their hides are
impervious to projectiles which do not contain silver. They could not reason
the way a human can, but they could accept instructions from their
any of the Korinsaps could react, the black leopard leaped on Harisha, grasped
her by the throat, and ripped. Blood spewed heavily.
the spotted leopard attacked Tabina, who managed to draw her projectile weapon.
She hit the leopard with one shot. The leopard screeched in pain, and was
knocked slightly off course, but she did manage to rake Tabina with razor sharp
claws as she sailed by. The leopard landed, whirled, and leaped again. Tabina
got off one more shot, but missed. She used one arm to protect her throat and
the other two to try to hold off the raging beast. The cat was able to clamp
her powerful jaws around the wrist of arm number one and bite off the hand. A
heavy torrent of blood spurted. In short order both female Korinsaps were dead.
black leopard advanced slowly on Glorp and Bamzo, who backed away in terror.
The spotted leopard changed. A naked,
blood-covered Judith appeared on hands and knees, breathing heavily. The form changes
had taken a lot out of her.
Still, she managed to call out to her leopard-cousin, telling him not to kill
the male Korinsaps. He changed.
need them,” Judith said in English. Then speaking fluently in the Korinsap
language, she asked, “Do you wish to live?”
what we say and you will survive, otherwise… you saw what we did to your
and Glorp led the humans through a series of passages to where they could clean
up. Then Judith and Bobby were fitted with manacles which did not actually
clasp. The Korinsaps took them to a ground vehicle and headed toward the
spaceport. When asked, they said they were transporting prisoners. At the
spaceport they entered the craft that had been used to bring them to this
planet. Bamzo and Glorp were locked in the same enclosure in which the humans
had been held.
after they took off a general alarm sounded. Ships scrambled after them, firing
energy weapons, but they managed to get to the wormhole entrance without being
they chase after us?” Judith asked their prisoners.
not,” Bamzo replied. “There are many possible destinations and they do not know
which one you have taken. Besides, before they can initiate any action, they
need to choose a new leader.”
Tillman is an emeritus professor of Mathematics at Wilkes University. He holds
a Ph.D. in mathematics from Brown University. An avid reader of mysteries and
science fiction, he has published several stories in both genres. His
novels, Leopard’s Daughter and Leopard's Revenge have
been published by Azure Spider Publications.